Sunday, December 06, 2015

Winter Update

Time for a sports update, as the baseball deals come fast and furious.

The San Francisco Giants again this offseason whiffed on their high profile targets of acquisition, most recently on pitcher Grienke.  They went immediately to plan B by signing Jeff Samardzgia to a five year deal, as the second starter behind MadBum.  He gives them the durability they've been lacking, even with his off-year last year.  He could help or he could be another albatross.  That's baseball.

Why have high profile pitchers passed on the Giants?  In addition to individual reasons of where they want to play, it seems mostly ego and greed.  Who will give them the contract that pays more than the last guy to get the biggest contract.

The Giants don't need those guys.  The Giants play complete baseball and they are a real team.  Brandon Crawford--Golden Glove winner and top hitting shortstop who the Giants signed to a long-term contract this offseason--is the model.  For pure baseball fans and for San Francisco area fans, the Giants will continue to be fun to watch, and to feel good about rooting for.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are utterly amazing.  Tonight was their biggest test so far--on the road against a good Brooklyn team, second of back-to-back games, with some beat-up players.  They lost their early lead in the third quarter and were briefly behind before surging in the fourth to win by their biggest margin in several games.  22-0.  Wow.

I've read about the new style of NBA games, but watching Warriors games on the net made it very clear: it's all 3 pointers and attacking the basket.  The 2-pointer jump shot that used to dominate, even on the throw it in, kick it out teams, has almost disappeared.

So Steve Kerr, one of the best 3 point shooters before Steph Curry and company blew all predecessors away, probably helped establish the Warriors game as their coach last year, but I haven't followed closely enough to know if that's what changed the league.

Former Laker Luke Walton is getting a lot of attention in that weird interim coach thing he's doing, for managing this incredible streak.  How can it be he's not getting official credit for these victories?

Big money egos taints major league baseball for me, and the injuries in football--especially concussions--have drained much of my enthusiasm for the NFL.  The Steelers play Indianapolis tonight, but this doesn't look like their year.  I've been through this particular frustration before---when the Steelers seem loaded with talent but can't put it together consistently to win.  Their defense in particular is suspect.  And Carolina and now Seattle seem the teams with the mojo working.


On the other hand...after a rocky first quarter, the Steelers manhandled the Colts 45-10 and they looked like magic.  Big Ben had an amazing touch on passes long and short, and his receivers looked superhuman.  The defense came up with takeaways and gave up only one touchdown.  Effective running game set up the pass barrage.  Suddenly the Steelers look like they might make noise this year.  Their next two games--New England and Cinncy--will tell the tale.  Commentators are prone to inflation these days, but I did hear words saying the Steelers may be better than both.  Guess we'll see.

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