Archive for March, 2013

It’s That Time Again

Even though the weather isn’t cooperating with the official start of Spring a week away, the month of March will soon bring us its annual Madness.  A bit of a religious experience for sports nuts like myself, tournament time means many things to me.  It means finding excuses to leave work early, or to fail to come in all together.  It means burning up the data coverage on my cell phone plan watching games while walking through a store, and parking myself in front of at least one t.v. and a laptop for hours on end.  It means forgetting to eat dinner because I”m too drawn in to the games, and ignoring all phone calls and doorbells.  And for me, it means setting the color of my t.v. to black and white so I can watch games that Baylor plays in (yes I actually did this).  Yes, opening day of the Tournament is less than a week a way now, and in just 168 short hours we’ll already be stunned by all the buzzer beaters, and likely bracket busters.

It’s not just the action on the court though.  It’s filling out the brackets, and the bragging rights that come with winning your office pool.  It’s celebrating with friends and family when that buzzer beater rolls around the rim and finally drops down.  Or when it rattles around and drops off the side.   It’s getting behind whoever the Tournament sweet heart is, and rooting for them till the bitter end.  It’s watching the clutch come from the least likely of places.  It’s watching number one and two seeds having to fight and claw to pull away, or just get by a sixteen of fifteen.  But most importantly, it’s all of these things, and that you get three weeks of them.

March Madness never fails to amaze either.  The moments are etched in most of our memories forever.  There was Butlers run to the title game two years in a row, and the agonizing defeats they suffered.  Steph Curry becoming an assassin during Davidson’s magical run in 2008.  How about Sottie Renyolds mad dash to the hoop to beat Pittsburgh at the buzzer?  George Mason’s Final Four run in 2006, or VCU’s in 2011.  There was Laettner’s shot, Webbers “timeout”.  Then there’s one of my favorite moments, one that doesn’t just happen once in a lifetime, seeing a coach win their first National Title.  Whether it be Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, and one of my personal favorites Jim Valvano.  The emotion in that moment…..well it sums up the Tournament completely.

Yes the year long wait is finally over.  Soon we will all be enjoying the Madness once again, and as I’m sitting here watching Conference tournaments I’m almost giddy.  Thinking about who will be this years Cinderella, thinking of all the buzzer beaters we will witness, and if a 16 seed will finally pull off the impossible.  Yes March is here, and for all College Basketball fans it means one thing.  Church is about to be in session….

 

Daniel Guy

Thank you for reading and please follow me on twitter @danny_g13

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Thoughts on the Dolphins Free Spending

Maybe it’s just the bitter Panthers fan in me that wishes we could sign even reasonably priced free agents, maybe not, but I can’t help but be amused by some of the reactions to the first day of Free Agent frenzy.  Whether it be on my favorite message board carolinahuddle.com, twitter, or Sportscenter, I see people going gaga over what’s going down in South Beach.

In the last week the Fish have given out $95 million to two Wide Receivers, and another $61 million to two Linebackers, neither of which look to be superstars at the position.  All this, and they still haven’t addressed the position that is arguably their biggest need.  Then just a little while ago I saw a tweet from the Dolphins twitter account proclaiming that it’s been an “exciting day”, and promising “there’s more to come”.  This makes me wonder, is all this free spending by Miami today really about building a contender?  Or is it more important to a franchise to sell tickets?

Now by no means am I trying to single the Dolphins out, and in no way am I naive enough to think these four players will get the entire amount of their contracts.  But still, is spending for the sake of spending really the way to build a contender?  Plenty of teams have certainly tried.  Just two years ago, the Eagles were the talk of a shortened off-season.  In 2011 they traded backup Quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for a package that included Pro Bowl Cornerback Dominique Rogers-Cromartie.  Feeling pairing DRC with fellow Pro Bowler Asante Samuel wasn’t enough they went out and spent big bucks less than 24 hours later on shutdown Corner Nnamdi Asomugha.  They also added Defensive Tackle Cullen Jenkins, and Jason Babin on long-term deals during the same Free Agency period.  Fast forward less than three years (and one poorly timed “Dream Team” comment) later, and not one of the above mentioned players are on the Eagles Roster.  Not only that, but their Head Coach was sent packing to Kansas City because the team didn’t live up to the lofty expectations.

A similar scenario occurred in Charlotte, where the Carolina Panthers paid big money to keep the core of a 2-14 team before the new Head Coach even got a chance to work with them.  Now the General Manager that handed out those contracts is in the unemployment line, and the Panthers are in Cap Hell forced to pick at the scrap heap.

The problem is for many organizations there is no middle ground.  Too many teams try to build contenders through Free Agency, when Super Bowls are won through the Draft.  Take the Baltimore Ravens for example.  Outside of Anquan Boldin who was acquired through a trade, the core of the team is built around smart drafting.  Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Torrey Smith, Paul Kruger, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis all were drafted by the Ravens.  What the Ravens did however, was to pick and choose moderately priced Free Agents to fill out their roster.  But the star talent on the team outside of Boldin were all Raven Draft picks.  That’s the way it should be, at least in my opinion.  Build your core through the draft, and fill holes with reasonably priced Free Agents.

The Dolphins (like many before them) have tried to challenge the system that seems to work.  Buying up some of the best Free Agents in this class instead of building from within.  It doesn’t matter if the Dolphins are trying to build a contender or not.  If it works out for them, and they end up as a contender people like me have egg on their face and their organization looks like solid gold.  If not…..well I hope Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin have good references.

Daniel Guy

follow me on twitter @danny_g13