The Stretch Run

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The NBA has a little less than a third of the season left. The All-Star game has passed and so has the Trade Deadline.  That usually signifies the stretch run for teams.  Normally you would only think of teams that are competing for playoff spots, but it also means some teams will try and “tank” to get a better draft choice.  Both types of competing have become quite popular over the last few years.  I certainly do not remember teams tanking when I was a child, but of course there could be many reasons for that.

I am not sure if the NBA is different from other sports, but it is pretty much a given that only 5-6 teams can win the title.  Certain teams that are good have no shot at playing for a title, but they fall in the middle of the draft order.  Sometimes it really does not pay to be in the middle of the draft.  If you are not in the top 10 you do not have as good of a chance at getting a player that can really change the future of your franchise.  This causes teams to tank.  They can tank in a couple of different ways.  You can go into a season with very little talent or experience on your roster and that will pretty much ensure yourself of a high draft pick.  If you are a middle of the road team, you can try to make trades before the deadline that will lose your talent and try to get back young talent or draft choices.

The Sixers have been playing the high draft choice game for a few seasons now and it shows that their method is not necessarily a sure thing.  They have taken quite a few prospects over the last few years and they still are not a good team.  They made a deadline deal trading one of their recent high picks. They received a player that they will release and a draft choice.  So they are basically saying they value the draft pick more than the player they drafted a few years ago.  It is a weird way to try and build your team.  I cant imagine being a player on a team like that, it seems to go against everything a competitor would believe in.

Other teams make deals to try and get better for this year and to position themselves for a better future.  Examples of these deals could be the Thunder dealing for two veteran Bulls players.These players will not really help them in the future, but they should really give a boost to a team that needs some help to make a run in the playoffs.  You also have the Pelicans making a trade for an All-Star player in Cousins.  This will help them this year a little, but this is a deal that should help them compete in future years.   They are pairing two big men that have a plenty of talent.

I would imagine depending on what team you are a fan of would determine which system you believe in.  I would imagine every fan wants their team to be competitive.  There will be fans that do not have the patience for a rebuild and some fans will have the patience as long as progress is being made.  It seems the Sixers are in a perpetual state of building.  That fan base will start tuning the team out even more than they have if progress does not show soon.  Regardless of how your team fared at the deadline, or how they are currently sitting in the standings, it will be fun to watch the playoffs once they get started.

 

The Week in Sports

 

There are times throughout a year that the sports world can be slower than normal.  This seems to be one of those times.  In the NFL, the Super Bowl is complete and the draft news has not really heated up to its normal temperature.  Spring training has begun for MLB, but the season is still quite some time away.  The NBA is past the halfway point and getting ready for the All-Star game, but playoff fever has not necessarily heated up yet.  So if you believe that the sports world is slower than normal, I would argue that the sports world never slows.  You can always find something to discuss.

The Super Bowl is over, so there can’t be anything to talk about other than the draft, right?  I would say, wrong! The HOF voting was announced and it is a great class.  The players were great across the board and even if you do not like Jerry Jones, you would have to admit his contribution to football has been great.  Sometimes the guys that do get into the HOF get overshadowed by the news of people that did not get in.  This year, Terrell Owens was not voted in.  Most would argue that his statistics and talent should have him in the Hall, but it seems that the voters held his perceived attitude against him.  He will get in eventually.  How about this piece of news? A man in the Boston area recently got a tattoo.  What do you think it could be?  How about the likeness of Tom Brady.  Seems silly, until you find out that it was on his backside, and then silly is not even close to describing it.  Enjoy that for the rest of your life.

Spring training has started and it can give people a feeling of “spring in the air”.  Usually spring training means very little meaningful baseball.  A few jobs will be won or lost, but mostly a lot of weird injury stories surface.  The Marlins could be sold, but seems to be complicated now.  That is web of relationships that seems tough to untangle.  How about the title of this article?  Using A-Rod’s name will always get attention, but when you use it in the same line as Girardi’s is it supposed to make people think that Girardi will be replaced by A-Rod?  Cheap headlines in my opinion.

The NBA has All-Star weekend coming.  It is a great event that showcases plenty of talented individuals.  What will be your favorite event?  My personal favorite is the game itself.  The players do not play much defense and the creativity on offense really shines through.  When I was a child, I loved the slam dunk contest.  It is still a great event, but I feel that coming up with something new and exciting is just about impossible now.

No matter what your favorite sport is, you can find a story to keep your interest at just about any time of the year.  In my opinion, that is what makes sports great.  Maybe our idea of a “story” has changed over the years.  I can not imagine a guy getting a tattoo of Joe Montana on his butt being a story in 1985.  Maybe I am wrong though?

—Victor Mandalawi

Wild Weather

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I do not think it matters where you live in the United States, you will experience some type of wild weather.  If you live in the Southwest you are subject to drought and heat.  The Northwest brings plenty of chilly rain.  The South and Midwest deal with tornadoes.  If you live on the Gulf of Mexico or on the East Coast, you are subject to hurricanes.  It is safe to say that no matter where you live you will have your share of inclement weather. This last week has brought plenty of wild weather with more on the way for the Northeast.

I have always wondered what would happen if a tornado were to touch down in a major metro area.  You always see pictures of neighborhoods getting torn to pieces or rural farmland, but never metropolitan areas.  Yesterday, a tornado touched down in New Orleans.  Here is some footage of the damage. I think the damage was not nearly as bad as it could have been.  Eight tornadoes were reported in Louisiana with only minor injuries.  It is a slight miracle that nobody was killed from these storms.

If you live in the Northeast, you are on a weather rollercoaster!  The high for today is estimated to be around 60 degrees. That is great considering that it is 30 degrees above average for this time of year.  Get ready though, the temperature will drop and Winter Storm Niko will arrive.  Starting late tonight and through tomorrow the snow will fall and fall and fall, getting up to 12″.  That seems to be more on the normal side of the weather spectrum vs. 60 degrees.  The article mentions a few other instances of such extreme changes in weather.  It is not all that unusual to drop or rise in temperature, it happens all of the time. However, this type of change does not happen frequently.

It has been a pretty mild winter so far.  If you look at the snow cover map you can see how mild it really has been. There are huge areas of the US that should have some cover that do not as of yet.  That is about to change though with the storm for the Northeast.  It is just a matter of how long the snow sticks around.

If you are ready for spring, just remember that your favorite neighborhood groundhog saw his shadow and is predicting another 6 weeks of spring.  Of course, we do not buy into that routine, but I do trust science.  Here is the winter/spring prediction from Accuweather.  So if you are ready for spring and more warm weather, you better look at that map and see where you fall.  You might be in for a long winter!

–Victor Mandalawi

A Great Day is Coming!

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In a few days it will be SuperBowl Sunday.  It is one of the greatest days on our calendar for many reasons.  Of course the football is great, but the telecast will draw many more than the average viewers.  People tune in for halftime shows, they watch because they are wagering on it, and they watch because they might be at a party that has the game on.  There are some pretty amazing statistics about the day.  There are also really crazy things to wager on, better known as prop bets. I would like to think that if you are not working, the majority of Americans will turn the telecast on at least once.

Since the game is the reason for the amazing day, I might want to mention it just a little.  The Patriots will be playing the Falcons.  There are always storylines to follow and sometimes they happen right before the game. Do you remember the Barrett Robbins story? That seems to be just unthinkable, but it happened and I can imagine it played a huge part in the game.  Eugene Robinson also had an issue the night before the game.  So stay tuned, there just might be a larger story forming!

Gambling is a huge part of the festivities.  Casinos always come up with prop bets for the game.  Some are actually interesting and some are just so silly.  It does not really matter though, people will bet on just about anything.  Of course wagering on the game, the score, and the winner of the MVP award are pretty normal bets.  However, are you willing to bet on how long it takes the National Anthem to be sung? You can place a bet on it. What about the color of lipstick that Lady Gaga wears, how many times will Gisele be on TV, and what about the number of concussions during the game? Yes, you can wager on any of those items and plenty more! You can even wager if Lady Gaga mentions President Trump.

Another large part of the day are parties.  At those parties there will be plenty of food and beverages that are consumed.  Did you know that 50 million cases of beer will be consumed? What are the most popular foods?  Chicken wings seem to be the most popular item along with pizza. People also consume crazy amounts of dip.  It is estimated that close to 69.6 million lbs of of Avacados will be consumed.  That is a lot of Guacamole! There are countless other stories of food and beverages being consumed on Sunday.  Take a look at some of the statistics and I am sure they will be eye opening.

You do not have to be a fan of football to enjoy SuperBowl Sunday.  I think as long as you are willing to eat, drink, wager, and enjoy the company of your friends and family you should have a great time.  You can also watch the halftime show and the commercials for entertainment.  Lastly, you can watch the game to see these amazing athletes compete at the absolute highest level!  I think the Falcons have a chance at an upset.

—Victor Mandalawi