Sunday, March 15, 2015

Time to Stop the Brad Evans Experiment

I am done with the Brad Evans experiment. I know we need someone to play centerback with Chad Marshall, but Evans isn't that guy. He just doesn't have the understanding of the position yet. If the Sounders want him to play the position they should be having him practicing at the position and playing in non league matches, but against MLS opponents Evans shouldn't be playing.

In Saturday's match against San Jose Brad Evans was basically responsible for giving up two goals. The first was a bad first touch followed by a stupid header toward the Sounders goal, which gave Chris Wondolowski an easy finish. On the second goal Evans was completely out of position allowing Innocent Emeghara to get a ball deep on the attack. Evans attempt at a recovery resulted in him falling over and allowing another easy goal.

I know Zach Scott is old, but he does a better job than Evans. The Sounders offense is good but they cant be expected to bail out the defense every week. Giving up easy goals off of stupid mistakes is not a way to win soccer games. Until Evans can play a full 90 without making stupid mistakes he shouldn't be playing centerback.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lakeside vs Bellevue: Two Basketball Styles Clash

I went to the Washington State High School Basketball Championships again this year. The first game I saw was Bellevue High School against Lakeside High School. It was an interesting matchup. The game turned out to be the most exciting of the three I saw that day. The Lions ended up winning 58-54 and it was as close as the score indicates. On offense the it showcased two very distinct strategies for scoring points.

In 2014-2015, the Lakeside Lions two stars were Daejon Davis and Isiah Brown. The official program showed that those two players each averaged 20+ ppg, while nobody else even managed 10. The offense is all about two guys scoring the rock. During the game the team showed great ball movement and passing, which surprised me. I figured the two scoring threats would dominate the ball and force shots. The Lions passing was designed to move the ball quick and get to Davis and Brown for scoring opportunities. Once the ball made it to them both players did a good job scoring.

Much like his 28.2 ppg suggested, Brown appeared to be more of a pure scorer than Davis. Brown showed the ability to make plays on his own and he definitely wasn't afraid to take a shot. He made more than one impressive athletic play to twist and turn past defenders in the lane. A few times he forced a shot when he really should have passed, but as only a junior in high school this isn't a big deal. When it was all said and done Brown ended up with 31 points. I definitely expect him to play in college somewhere.

The Lions other star, Davis, scored most of his points by taking advantage of what the game gave him. He always seemed to find himself open for a catch and shoot or positioned correctly for an easy put back basket. Despite not making many flashy plays or any that particularly stood out, Davis managed to rake up the points as well. He ended the game with 17.

On the other side, Bellevue looked like the well balanced team their stats indicated. The official program showed that the Bellevue Wolverines had all five starts average over 10.0 ppg. Throughout the game the Wolverines scoring came from several different places. Lots of players scored in this game for Bellevue. Their most consistent scorer was big man Gunther Klimes who scored 21. He collected buckets throughout the game by consistently grinding away on the inside. Nothing as exciting as the Lakeside tandem, but it got the job done. Another Bellevue big man, Mikey Henn, also managed to score with inside play, but he didn't get a large point total because he got into foul trouble and spent a lot of time on the bench. In the fourth quarter guard Sharif Khan hit several key three pointers to bring the Wolverines back into the game. He scored 14 for the game.

This game highlighted the two common strategies for basketball offense. The first, which was used by Lakeside, is a star focused scoring attack. The second, which Bellevue used, is a team driven method, which relies on the ability of anyone to be the nights star, depending on what the other team gives them. You see both of these style all the way up to the NBA. In the history of basketball neither has been definitively proven to be better than the other. Coaches, commentators, and fans will continue to debate the merits of each for years to come. The Bellevue versus Lakeside game was the perfect example of the two strategies pitted against each other. And much like the history of basketball neither strategy proved to be far better than the other.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Mariners 2015 Season Prevew: A Negative View

I decided to write a negative view and a positive view this year. If you don't want to be brought down off your spring training high don't read the below preview.  I'll post something more upbeat and optimistic about the upcoming 2015 season later.

Well the Mariners have done it again. They followed up a surprise winning season by adding a big name free agent and building up all kinds of preseason hype. This time the free agent is Nelson Cruz and the hype is so big that in Las Vegas they have the third best odds for an AL team to make the World Series. It has all resulted in the city's fanbase starting to dream. However for me it is all just too eerily similar to 2007 and 2009. In the 2007 offseason it was Erik Bedard and talk of finally returning to relevance. In 2009 it was Chone Figgins and the cover of the ESPN the Magazine MLB season preview. You might remember both of the follow up seasons turned into unmitigated 101 loss disasters.  The overselling of the 2015 M's and their constant history of failure has basically turned me into a pessimistic mess. I want to believe this year will be different. I want to believe baseball games will have actually meaning in August. But, I just cant get myself over the hump of pessimism.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Seahawks Season Recap: The Game that Changed Everything

Things didn't end quite like we hoped they would for the Seahawks. Instead of being the two time defending Super Bowl champions the Seahawks fell just short. However, the failure at the goal line doesn't mean the season was a failure. In fact far from it. The Seahawks turned what looked to be a struggling and potentially disappointing season into what ended up being another NFC Championship. They broke the NFL's draught of defending champions failing to win a playoff game and rattled off eight straight wins. I think it is important to stop and reflect on this success of a season. In doing so I want to focus on one key point of the season, a game that turned the season around and catapulted us into the playoffs.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Get it Together Mariners

For the last several years I have attended the Mariners home opener with a group of friends. We take in the first game of the season at Safeco Field and revel in the optimism that still lives in the minds of baseball fans on those cold dark spring nights. For the last several years the game has been one of the few to actually sell out. It is an opportunity for the fans to cheer loudly for the home team stars. Generally it is an awesome experience.

Excitingly this year the Mariners home opener on April 6th will also be the season opener. This is the first time since 2008 that team will start the year in Seattle. Normally this would be reason for celebration, but the Mariners managed to screw up a good thing by scheduling the game at 1:00pm on a Monday. What a terrible decision by the Mariners. I mean downright awful. It makes a classic sporting event (the baseball opening day) inaccessible to the majority of the fans.

It is kind of like starting the season in Japan, but worse because instead of the team by on a different continent which completely inhibits the fan ability to attend, the game is here in Seattle. It is so close yet so far away. It will just be sitting there taunting us. Making us all curse our limited PTO stock piles.

Fans, who will be looking forward to seeing Felix, Cano, and Seager for the first time in 2015, will be forced to take time off work to see it live. I am sure some people will choose to miss work so they can see the M's play, but many wont be able to. I know I can't skip work to drive down to Sodo for a baseball game.

Additionally, because of the time of day, those of us that want to watch the festivities live wont be able to. The broadcast is right in the middle of the work day. Most jobs frown on employees watching TV while they work. These fans will be forced to record it and hope no one spoils the outcome before they get a chance to watch it. Coworkers, radio stations, and Facebook will all have to be avoided. If you don't a have a DVR or a functioning VCR and blank VHS tape you are just shit outta luck.

Instead of feeling like we are part of the festivities we are left feeling like we are being forced out of them. Shame on the Mariners for distancing their fans. Usually they are great at fan relations, but this time it was a total fail.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stop Adding Gate to the End of Words

The NFL is a scandal ridden league. Every couple of years the league has another team (usually the Patriots) get caught breaking the rules. The media eats these up. A frenzy starts around the issue with every TV station, radio show, columnist, and blog trying to get their voice heard. Looking for a quick way to reference all these scandals the sports world has taken to tacking -gate onto the end of a word. For example, deflate-gate, bounty-gate, and spy-gate. This is a stupid practice and it needs to stop.

The gate suffix comes from the infamous Watergate scandal. The -gate in this name doesn't mean anything. Watergate isn't called that because it involved water. The scandal, which rocked the nation and resulted in the resignation of the President of the United States Richard Nixon, was dubbed Watergate because that was the name of the office complex that White House staffers broke into. If the complex had been called Mountain View or Emerald Heights we would probably refer to that scandal by one of those names.

Throwing gate onto the end of a word or every new scandal just makes that media sound ignorant. Every time I hear it uttered I cringe. The stupid practice really grids my gears. If we need a short name to quickly refer to the next Patriots scandal let's be a little more clever. Whatever happens just stop calling it something-gate.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Things More Likely than the Seahawks Winning the NFC Championship

You, dear reader, may have heard that the Seahawks had a 3.9% chance of winning the NFC Championship with four minutes left in the game.  This is an undesirable percentage, and one seen pretty commonly by anyone that has watched the Mariners in the last ten years (baseball zing!).  However, the Seahawks never quit.  They always compete, etc. etc.  All of the cliches apply here.  More importantly, the Seahawks are both very, very good and very, very lucky.

To truly demonstrate just how amazing it is that the Seahawks are in the Super Bowl after how that game was going, take a look at this highly scientific list of things more likely than the Seahawks winning last week.

  • The New York Knicks winning any basketball game
  • The New York Knicks playing said basketball game while wearing knickerbockers
  • Kevin Durant taking all his endorsement money and founding a new Seattle SuperSonics team
  • Jimmy Hoffa being alive
  • Jimmy Hoffa being a cyborg police officer in future Detroit
  • Any NHL player getting mentioned on ESPN at any time
  • Any U.S. president, chosen randomly, having attended Harvard
  • Someone hearing that George W. Bush went to Harvard and not laughing openly
  • All of us actually living in the Matrix
  • The San Francisco 49ers actually being named the 94ers since their inception but being too polite to correct anyone
  • Jim Harbaugh greeting you calmly and cordially, then inviting you to his hot yoga class
  • The Seahawk beating the Green Bay Packers
  • The sea gaining sentience, learning football, and beating the Green Bay Packers
  • The Patriots playing by the rules established by the NFL