The Call That Never Was

“He hits it high!  He hits it deep!  It is…OUTTA HERE!  Barry Bonds surpasses the Babe!  The Great Bambino!  The Sultan of Swat!  Home run number 715 for the best hitter I’ve ever seen, Barry Bonds!  And the crowd in San Francisco is LOVING IT!!  And why shouldn’t they!? This is the greatest moment in baseball we’ve ever been a part of…”

 

It was the call that never was for baby faced San Francisco Giants announcer Dave Fleming.  After undoubtedly much practice, thought, and fantasizing about the moment, the minute Barry Bonds maple bat ripped through the red stitching and connected for the home run that moved him into second  all time for career home runs, Dave Fleming’s KNBR microphone went dead. 

 

The mic remained dead for a full fifteen seconds as fog horns blew, fireworks lit up the sky, and Barry casually soaked it all up during a slow trot around the bases.  At the last minute Dave’s broadcasting partner tried to salvage the call, but no avail. 

 

The call that would have put Dave Fleming’s voice in Cooperstown was lost between the radio airwaves and the Curse of the Bambino. 

 

Isn’t that crazy?

 

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Grappling With The Decision of Baron Davis- As Compared to a Dirty Ex-Girlfriend

I, like many Warrior fans, have done some soul searching over the past week since learning that the talent of our team will not be returning to Oakland next year.  I, like many Warrior fans, are wondering what to do with my Baron Davis jersey.  I, like many Warrior fans, am contemplating whether the photo of Diddy pooping on Kirlenko retains the right to rest on my wall, or if it should reside next to my toilet to save the day when I run out of toilet paper.

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Baron Davis dunking on KirilenkoFor those of you who do not know what I am talking about, I will lead you through the 5 step thought process most Warrior fans have gone through in the past week.  It is eerily similar to when you break up with a dirty, super hot, whorish girlfriend.

 

1)      Denial.  The immediate thought I had when headed south on the 101 was “this isn’t happening.  Baron said he wasn’t going to opt of his contract.  He told Nellie he’d be back.  He told his teammates he’d be back.  How could he lie to baby faced Monta?  He’ll be back.  I hope.”

 

Comparison to dirty, super hot ex-girlfriend:  She’ll be back.  I’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll have this warm little cuddly thing neatly tucked in between the sheets.  This breakup is just like the last tussle we had.

 

2)      Questioning.  “How did this happen?  I thought Baron Davis loved G-State.  I thought after all these years, he finally found a coach that allowed him to shoot threes at will. Fans worshipped his beard. The team made him their captain.  What could the Warriors have done to prevent it?  Was it Mullin?”  (The blank, empty feelings start to seep in…) “remember when he dunked on Kirelenko…or hit that half court buzzer beater at halftime…or hit that game winning three against LA…”

 

Comparison to that whorish, so hot ex-girlfriend that is now being desperately missed: “Damn I miss her.  Is she really going/gone?  I did all that I could, didn’t I?  I put up with those stupid shopping sprees.  I didn’t complain, that much, when she was too tired to give it up.  WTF?  Remember that time when she went down on me in the laundry room at that party…or that time she went down on me in my dad’s hot tub…or that time she went down on me with ice in her mouth…”

 

3)      Anger.  “How could Baron leave the Warriors for the shitty Clippers!  They suck balls!  His knees are going to blow anyway!  What an asshole for not giving Mullin some fucking notice!  Selfish dickhead prick!  Always was a premadonna!  Him and his big ass teeth!  We’re better off without him anyway!!!”  (Promptly rip down Kirlenko posters…)

 

Comparison to that ugly bitch: Fuck that whore!  How could she go down on that fuckface who wears fluorescent color polos and eats sushi?  That bitch!  She gave shitty head anyway!  Her and her wack ass weave!  I’m better off without her!”  (Promptly take down pictures of that two-bit slut resting on nightstand.)

 

4)      Acceptance. “Ok.  Maybe he’s better off in Los Angeles.  He likes to make movies and he’s from LA, so it’s good that he’s home.  And he is on the Clippers, so it’s not like he’ll be that happy playing.  The Warriors will manage.  Maybe the Warriors will pick up Elton Brand.  Yeah, that’d really piss the Clippers off.”

 

Comparison to that girl you used to date: “Ok.  Maybe she’s better off without me, and maybe I’m better off without her.  It’s not like we were super compatible.  At least now she is in New York modeling clothes and doing what she really wants.  And at least that way she is like, 2,578 miles away from my house.”

 

5)      Revenge.  “What should I do with this Baron Davis jersey…I definitely don’t want it hanging next to Joe Montana and my Barry Bonds jersey…I know!  When the Los Angeles Clippers visit Oakland for the first time, I will orchestrate, and promote, a giveaway night!  Warrior fans who no longer have a need to hold on to their Baron Davis jersey can bring their jersey to the game and give it away, or give it back to Baron during pre-game!  That’s genius!” (any fans who would like to participate in Baron Davis throwback jersey night, please comment below and we’ll get this thing going.)

 

Comparison to that girl who is dead to you, but still is damn fine: “Remember that fluorescent polo shirt wearing dude she hooked up with…well, his ex-girlfriend was giving you the eye at the bar…make sure it gets back to your ex-girlfriend if you hook up with her…continue to do well at everything, just enough so she wants you back…then when she contacts you just to say “hi,” tell her you have something for her…then give her back her shit.”                   

 

Side note: During the construction of this article, I facebooked stalked my ex-girlfriend once.  Warrior fans will find themselves doing the same thing- stalking the Clipper box scores starting this November.     

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And with the 14th pick, the Warriors select…

Today is the most anticipated day we, as Warrior fans, often have to look forward to.  In years past, it’s the only day we have to look forward to.  It’s the day that we pour our hopes and dreams into some soon to be millionaire rookie.  It’s the day where management makes mistakes (see Todd Fuller), or drafts someone like Ellis, Biendris, or Arenas.

 

Today is like Groundhogs Day.  Will Mullin be afraid of the team’s shadow and remain with the same starting five, or will there be some crazy changes (see Richardson for Wright).  Will the upcoming season be much anticipated, or will it slowly dissipate from June 26th to April ‘09.  Will Baron be back?  Monta, Andris; will they see a big payday in the near future?  Could we get a big name, or at least, a big rebounder? 

 

It all begins tonight at Madison Square Garden, with the final slot in the lottery, the 14th pick. 

 

My hunch is that something big will go down.

 

Three scenarios:

 

(Warriors trade down, take Chase Budinger with the 21st pick.  They get cash and Marcus Banks, somehow)

 

(Warriors trade the 14th pick and Brandon Wright to the Bobcats for Jason Richardson.  Mullin, in a rare moment of emotion, says he’s sorry in a live broadcast from the Bay Bridge.)

 

(Warriors, with the 14th pick, select the biggest, quickest guy in the draft to collect offensive rebounds from the hundreds of ill-advised 3 pointers that will undoubtedly be launched at will- all season long.)

 

 

 

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Summer Ain’t The Same

I still remember Opening Day, 1993, when I was 9 years old.  I remember the excitement in the air. Coming to San Francisco were the Florida Marlins, an expansion team with flashy teal colors and a roster that boasted catcher Charlie Johnson as their main attraction.  The real excitement came with the Giants new main big ticket- a cocky diamond earring wearing left fielder who had recently signed the largest deal ever for an athlete.

 

Summertime sunshine has always equated to more home runs by Barry Bonds.  Sometimes his home run total was greater than the average San Francisco temperature.  As the temperatures in Phoenix consistently remain at 112 degrees, meaning summertime is in full swing, I find myself living a decidedly different summer than I have in years past.

 

I do not tune into SportsCenter to catch the box score of the San Francisco Giants games.  I have not pirated baseball games using a friend of a friend of a friend’s username and password at MLB.com.  I have little interest in whoever roams the grass in left field at AT&T park, or even how they’re doing in replacing the largest shoes ever left behind. 

 

As my faded black and orange jersey with the number 25 stitched on the back hangs on my bedroom wall, the feeling is that summer without Barry Bonds just doesn’t seem right.

 

 

 

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We Believed

Down nine with a minute to go against Denver, we believed.  When Utah trounced the Nuggets, we believed the demoralizing would continue when the Rockets went to the Rockies.  Even when T-Mac and Houston faltered, we believed the world has seen crazier things happen, and that an eight seed for the Warriors was still a possibility.

 

Monday night wouldn’t be the end to the season, we believed.  There seemed like there was a gremlin swatting away the shots from the Suns as balls rattled in and out.  Biendris swallowed boards like he was Moby Dick and the loose basketballs were the wayward sailors.  Austin Croshere played like there was no tomorrow, which for him, there might not be. 

 

Yes, we Warrior fans believed until the last minute of our squandered nine point lead that another miracle would take place, but it was not to be.  The horn sounded and the season was over, with Don Nelson being the first to enter the tunnel headed to the locker room.

 

“But why didn’t Baron Davis play?” some Warrior fans squealed during the post-game exit. 

 

I don’t know.  Maybe Baron told Nellie during halftime that he lost the lead role in his next movie. Or maybe Baron brought out a razor at halftime and threatened to shave his beard if he didn’t get a contract extension.    

 

In reality, Baron Davis may have been the only Warrior- player, fan, or otherwise- who did not believe Monday night.  He moved like someone drunk off tequila in the first quarter, lackadaisically throwing up shots that barely caught rim.  When benched for most of the second quarter, he diligently sat close to coach, towel over his knees, waiting for the call. 

 

The call still didn’t come midway through the third quarter, and during a timeout, Baron slithered between Chris Watson and Matt Barnes at the end of the bench.  The fourth quarter came and Baron didn’t know what to do with himself as he saw an inspired team come back from eighteen down to go up nine.  Healthy all season, he hadn’t found himself on the bench this much since, well, ever.  He threw himself on the floor like his counterpart Steve Nash did at the opposite end of the floor, except his reason for being on the hardwood was completely different than the man who beat him out for an all-star spot.

 

Forty-eight, possibly forty-nine wins is nothing to look down upon- it’s something to be damn proud of.  We haven’t had that many wins since Run TMC in the early nineties.  The Warriors still made playoff history- they became the team that won the most games but still missed the playoffs.  There are plenty of positives to draw upon this year.  As a Warrior fan that grew up in the “Skeptic Era” (’93-’06) I’d go as far as saying we may not see another year like it for quite some time.

 

The one thing that we as fans can be proud of this year is we believed.  Now we have to resort to our old ways by throwing a draft party and believe that a late lottery pick can add some value to our team. 

 

In with Budinger, out with Bellinelli.               

 

 

 

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Tips for Arizona Basketball

I went to the grocery store at around eleven o’clock last night. Wearing my Arizona basketball jersey, I stood in line annoyed at yet another first round exit from the March Madness tournament.  A Sun Devil fan walked by in a t-shirt with that horrid yellow color, which to Wildcat fans, has the same effect the color red does on a raging bull. My matador smirked at the sight on my jersey, smugly walking by to let me know his side of the rivalry won this round.   I hate what UofA basketball has become.  I’ve come up with five tips, all of which could be applied to the workplace if you so choose, for the Wildcats to consider if they want to keep that twenty-three straight seasons of postseason appearances alive next year.

1)  We all know about the candidate, player, or recruit with the perfect credentials.  Degree from Harvard, 4.0 GPA, quick first step, a McDonald’s all American.  Very rarely do these types of people have the impact on an organization or team that you’d like them to.  They are the individualistic and/or egotistical that play for the “I” in team. 

Tip: Make them (aka Jerryd Bayless) humble.  Don’t allow them to put themselves on their own pedestal.  Teach them how to play as a part of the team, and don’t allow them to play until they learn that lesson.   

2)  To be successful in any organization you need a leader with a vision.  A vision gets everyone on the same page.  A leader empowers others to work towards that vision.

If a leader kinda has a vision, or if they are leading with the mindset they just want to get by without making any mistakes so they can really get em next year, then they will never be able to lead others.  

Tip: Find a new leader (aka head coach. Sorry Kevin)

3)  Companies pride themselves on culture.  The culture of an organization can greatly enhance, or severely hinder people in their success.  If the culture of a company relies on name or buzzwords alone, that is not culture.  A culture exists within each and every person that operates in an organization.  

Tip: Just because the name Arizona is labeled across the chest of every jersey does not mean other teams fear you.  If anything, it fires them up.  Opposing teams can sense the lack of heart and leadership within the culture, and know that if they are able to bring just one person with heart or talent down (Fendi, Jordan Hill, Nic Wise) the rest of the culture will crumble.  Build a new selfless culture that puts emphasis on the word “team.”  Maybe have everyone write “I will play as a team” a thousand times on the blackboard.

4)  An organization cannot exist without clear communication.  Especially when that communication is coming from the top.  This year Lute Olson temporarily resigned, then resigned, then was coming back, then wasn’t.  It left the team in limbo all year.   

Tip: Lute, I love you.  I don’t know what happened this year, but I hope that you communicated with your team, because it didn’t look like they were ever on the same page.

5) Life deals all types of things that are unfair.  Things we don’t agree with.  Things we would dispute.  But it all comes down to the same thing: you have to deal with it 

Tip: So what if the ref didn’t call a foul.  Maybe it was a block instead of a charge.  Control what you can control.  Shut up and play.

You should not be happy with yourselves as a collective whole right now Zona.  The committee put you in the tournament instead of the Sun Devils (who deserved it more, btw) and you did not give them any reason why they should let you in next year.  There’s a lot of work to do.   

Have a good off-season, gentleman.

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Initiation to the Real World

Last night I went to the Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns basketball game. This post is not about basketball and the millions players make, nor how it was very nice of Mary Gilbaugh to provide me with complementary tickets, but rather about the initiation college graduates have when entering the “real,” working world.

Brandon Wright around this time last year was the most recognized figure on the North Carolina campus. His lanky six foot nine frame and fifteen points per game scoring average was the subject of many basketball commentators praises as NBA scouts drooled at the opportunity of drafting him. Buying into the hype, Brandon decided to forgo his final three years of college and go to the NBA.

With the third overall selection in the draft, Brandon went to the Golden State Warriors, after parting ways with J Rich.

Being a huge Golden State Warriors fan and Bay Area native, I have had the privilege of enjoying the best year the team has had since the ’91-’92 season. I have also seen very little of Brandon (the Mr. Wright is completely unnecessary considering he is three years younger than I). He has averaged about four points a game while appearing in half the games this season, with the other half being spent on the bench.

Last night Brandon did make an appearance in the game, albeit for about six seconds. As he joyously responded to the call to put him in the game, he was briefly corralled by the head coach before reporting to the scorers table. Brandon’s first impact on the game was immediately fouling Shaquille O’Neal, which the big man did not take a liking to. For a minute I thought Shaq was going to break Brandon’s braces with one swift jab. With that, Brandon was quickly taken back out of the game and took a seat on the bench, where he would not move from for the remainder of the contest.

What Brandon did for the Warriors is what an entry-level college grad would do for his first employer. Fouling Shaq was like getting a cup of coffee, or washing the boss’s car. Both are meager tasks only assigned to rookies, for no other good reason other than to give the message of “welcome to the real world. If you think you’re going to own this business in six months you’re wrong. Now take a seat back on the bench/cubicle.”

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