Friday, May 25, 2012

Are the 76ers and Celtics Like the Tortoise and the Hare?

Watching the Celtics and 76ers series reminded me of a story from when we were kids. The tortoise and the hare. The two race each other, and the fast hare jumps out to an early lead, but arrogantly stops to take a nap. The tortoise keeps moving forward. "Slow and steady wins the race," he repeats. Eventually, the tortoise wins the race. Teaching a lesson that just because you're naturally more gifted doesn't mean you can fuck around and still win.

In my version of the tortoise and the hare, I'd have the hare purposely losing the race because he bet on the tortoise in Vegas. Then he gets killed by mob guys who lost money betting on him.

Anyway, the Celtics remind me of the hare. Their record in games that they can eliminate an opponent speaks for itself. They struggle to beat teams that they've already beaten 3 times. That's weird.

They take a kind of break. Instead of 110%, they only give 95%. No big deal, right? So long as there's enough gas in the tank to win when it matters, then fine.

What worries me a bit is that in this series, I don't know if they can just step it up for Game 7 and be the odds on favorite to win. I have a feeling like maybe they've let the 76ers stick around for too long. And now Bradley is out. His replacement Ray Allen isn't capable of playing a full game of productive basketball (on either side of the ball).

The Celtics are more talented than the 76ers. But that advantage is hedged by the Celtics' age and health.

The 76ers have also shown more character in this series than the Celtics have. They've won a game in Boston, they've outplayed the Celtics in close 4th quarters, they've recovered after getting blown out, they came back from a 17 point 3rd quarter deficit to win. They have taken full advantage of every opportunity the Celtics have given them.

The C's have not taken advantage of the opportunities given to them by the 76ers.

The Celtics are still the hare. It's their game to lose. In the fable, if the hare simply stopped fooling around and picked up the pace, he would have beaten the tortoise. That's what the Celtics have yet to do but still can do.

The Matsuzaka Mystery Continues

When reading stories about Daisuke Matsuzaka's health, I feel like I'm reading a mystery novel. Is he healthy? Is he in pain? Is he telling the truth about his injuries? He's a soap opera spoken i foreign language. It's very hard to figure out what's happening.

Daisuke was recently placed on the 60 day DL, and his rehabs in AAA Pawtucket were cancelled due to pain in his right trapezius. People were wondering if Matsuzaka would pitch again in 2012.

They got a quick, surprising answer. He'll be pitching for the PawSox against Toledo on Saturday night.

So what is the story with this guy? Is he still feeling pain and lying about it so he can return to the mound? He's told similar stories in the past. And while the desire to pitch is commendable, the lack of honesty is annoying.

I don't think the Red Sox properly understood what they were getting into with Daisuke. They thought they knew how to convert him from throwing 140 pitches once a week to throwing 100 every 5th day. They took a guy whose body was accustomed to one style of training, and instantaneously switched styles.

I think all the throwing Daisuke did in Japan was what kept his arm strong. Without that exercise, his health deteriorated. So then he'd get shut down. Which meant even less exercise. So the health problems would reoccur.

It reminds me of Formula 1 racing cars, actually. An F1 car must go fast to be safe. If it goes too slow, the tires don't heat up, so they don't grip the road, so you crash and die. A Formula 1 car is dangerous when driven slowly. And the less Matsuzaka throws, the weaker he gets. It seems counter-intuitive, until you understand how abnormal of a thing/person you're talking about.

Daisuke needed a heavy workload to maintain sufficient arm strength and health to avoid all these little problems that have nibbled away at his career.

I'm not a doctor though. I have no idea what the Sox should have done with him. But neither did the Sox. They were exploring uncharted waters without a compass, and acted as if they knew what the hell they were doing. They didn't experiment, they didn't test, they didn't research. They just put Daisuke on a 100 pitch count, severely limited his throwing between starts, and called it good medicine.

It hasn't been.

The Death of 38 Studios

It appears to be Game Over for Curt Schilling's video game company. 38 Studios sent a company wide email to its employees:

"The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a company wide lay off is absolutely necessary.

"These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.

"This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012."

Now that's not the same as bankruptcy. It's actually worse. A bankrupt company still intends to do business after sorting out its debts. This looks like the factory is shutting down completely. I'm sure 38 Studios will sell whatever assets it has, such as the multiplayer game it's been developing. They can't develop it further as no developers work for them any more. After that, the company is, essentially, dead.

Schilling received criticism for being a political Conservative that railed against government assistance programs, then accepting a $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island for his video game company.

I don't like government programs like this. The intention was to lend money to companies so they'd do business in RI. But they gave a huge chunk of the money to Schilling's company, violating rule #1 of investing: Diversify. And what do governments know about lending money to businesses?

It's one thing to lure successful companies with tax breaks. It's another to give money to companies that may or may not be successful. And if they can't get funding from the private sector, there's probably not much potential for profit.

In some respects, Schilling is a hypocrite. If he's criticized people who have received government assistance, he became a hypocrite the moment he agreed to this deal. Then again, there's a slight difference if he's only criticized the government for doing it. I can't blame anyone who takes advantage of government help. I would. I hate most of these programs, but if somebody sent me a check once a month, I'd cash it. Wouldn't anyone?

I have no problem with the people who use such programs, my beef is with the programs themselves. And if Schilling only criticized the programs and politicians, not the people benefiting, then he's not a hypocrite. It's un-American to turn down free money.

Anyway, I'm really glad Curt Schilling never ran for office in Massachusetts. He's not that bright. I kind of feel bad that this isn't working out for him. Then I feel worse for the people of Rhode Island who have to pay for it not to work out. Schilling has claimed that he put $30 million of his own money into this. But it's his project, his toy, his venture. Rhode Island's politicians were dumb, and now their people have to pay for it. 1,051,302 people live in Rhodey. That's $71.34 per person.

That's enough to buy a video game.