Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

June 11, 2007

[Business Day One] A Wish List

I had a dream last night about the end of the world. No joke. I was at a dock in Florida, talking to some people I knew, when we started hearing the detonations of atomic bombs in the distance. A giant tidal wave slammed into the harbor where I was, destroying the boats in the water and homes on the hills. And, in that way you just know things in dreams, I knew this was happening all over the country. Waking up in a cold sweat this morning (or was that ocean water), I was thankful to be alive. I started going through the mental list of all the things that weren’t actually destroyed that I was happy about. Family, friends, hobbies, burritos and the sweet escape of sport.

Scared to go back to sleep right away, I kept my mind occupied by thinking about what I want to see happen in the world of sports, now that I had a new lease on life. I crafted a Wish List that I want to present here to the Gods of Sport, that they may hear and abide. So, mighty and just Gods of Sport, hear me, for I seek only what will make your purview stronger!

Please allow the Spurs to win in four games.

I heard Charles Barclay pontificating about a week back that in basketball, unlike most other sports, the best team usually wins in a series. And I absolutely agree. We’ve seen the best team fall in baseball countless times in a seven game series, and anything can happen in the NFL playoffs. But in basketball, the dominant team (defined by me as “the team with the best center and a guard that can run the floor”) rises to the top. As a financial analyst, I love when projections prove correct. The Spurs are the best team out there, and they should win in four to prove it.

The national media was thrilled that LeBron, their (justifiably) appointed Next Big Thing, made it into the Finals to combat a team comprised of stout defenders and a dude nicknamed “The Big Fundamental.” For that reason, too, I want the Spurs to win. I want the Best Team to beat the Best Player. I want that beautiful purity to remain in basketball, at least for a couple more games. So we beseech you, o Gods of Sport.

Please prevent Barry Bonds from breaking the record.

He did steroids. That should be enough right there. But I also don’t want the record broken due to the caliber of men that have held it before him. Even statistically, I don’t want Bonds’ name to be uttered in the same breath as Ruth’s or Aaron’s. Sure, the Babe was a hard-smoker, hard-drinker, and hard-eater, but he defined the sport. He made baseball. The man that broke it was one of the few men that deserved to. Hank Aaron, quietly and in the face of crushing racism, heralded baseball’s new era. He did so with class and respect.

Steroids aside, I just don’t want a jackass that is a cancer in the dugout and a pariah outside of San Francisco to hold any sort of record. While I’m not hoping he’s gets a two-seamer to the eye socket, I do hope that his current slump continues and he retires at the end of the season. So we beseech you, o Gods of Sport.

Please allow Roger Goodell to continue the tradition of excellent NFL management.

As I’ve noted before, the National Football League has grown into the juggernaut of profitability and influence due to an almost magically consistent level of fantastic management. That trend-loving analyst in me is coming out again when I say that I want the trend to continue. I was Goodell to join the ranks of Rozelle and Tagliabue as stewards of America’s True Passtime. With his hardline stance on off the field behavior, he is already asserting himself as someone that understands the challenges of the 21st century NFL.

I love football more than any other sport, and I want it to remain the best owned and the most effectively managed. A lot of hockey’s current problems can be blamed on poor leadership. Let’s hope the failures on the ice are never visited upon the gridiron. So we beseech you, o Gods of Sport.

Please exalt Major League Soccer above Texas Hold’em in the U.S. consciousness.

MLS is never going to be The Premier League or La Liga, but please, PLEASE let’s hope it gets more respect than what it gets now. In MLS exists the only sport in the U.S. that the rest of the world plays. In the name of competition, it must flourish! Nothing else need be said. So we beseech you, o Gods of Sport.

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