We begin Odds & Ends this week with the sad news of the death of Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and general manager Flip Saunders. He died Sunday at the age of 60 after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was diagnosed in August and the disease would be “treatable”. It was announced earlier in the week that he would sit out the season to battle the disease,but it appears the battle was just too short.
Saunders had two coaching stints in Minnesota,the first of which resulted in some of the best times in the franchise’s 27-year history and their only trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. After being let go by Minnesota in 2005,he took over the Detroit Pistons and led them to three straight conference finals appearances. He later coached the Washington Wizards.
The NBA has truly lost one of the game’s best people in Saunders. I will remember him best when he was with Minnesota,guiding a franchise that was still finding its way and guiding young players like Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury,Wally Szczerbiak,and many more to much success. I was hoping he could do it again with guys like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. I hope that,in his memory, they can achieve more success than what’s being projected of them and I hope Flip’s family can take comfort knowing that so many people throughout the league will remember him well.
I think this picture from Twitter of Garnett sitting in front of Saunders’ parking space sums up how the team and the league feels about losing him.
Now we go to football and what’s the deal with NFL games being on the internet?
Sunday’s game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars was played in London and wasn’t
available on television at all. It was only viewable via a Yahoo! stream. The only places offering the game on television were the CBS affiliates in Buffalo (WIVB) and Jacksonville (WJAX) as the network was producing the game for Yahoo! to stream.
It appears that the NFL made this an online-only game in March and Yahoo! was named the streaming partner in June. Either way,I don’t like the idea of online-only games,even if it is a lackluster match-up between two teams who haven’t made the playoffs in a combined 18 years. Every game should be on television no matter what. It’s why we have services like NFL Sunday Ticket and the like. It’s a slap in the face for consumers who want to be able to see the game on television and if you’ve seen comments on different forums surrounding the topic,the fans don’t like it anymore than I do. Honestly, it makes your league look a little less caliber to not have a game on television.
For the second straight game and two weeks after Steelers invaded Qualcomm Stadium, a swarm of Raiders fans made their way down I-5 to virtually give the Raiders a ninth home game on the season. Chants of “defense” surrounded the stadium when the Chargers were on offense and “Cooooooooooooooooop” whenever rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper made a big play. Oakland won 37-29 on Sunday,but the game was not as close as the score indicates.
It really made me wonder where this fanbase is,if they even care for this team,and if they’ve moved on. I understand that nobody wants to pay top dollar to see a team that’s on the brink of relocating, but I think the absence of Chargers fans at home is playing a part in their play on the field. If this is it in San Diego and they do move to Los Angeles, I have a hard time believing the fans there will be any more supportive.
I think fans will be more supportive of the Rams coming back to Los Angeles. Attendance in St. Louis has been down this season and the rumours have been there for years now. Not to mention the team has a year-to-year lease at their current home,the Edward Jones Dome. They also still have offices in Los Angeles.
I think these two teams are the frontrunners to relocate to Los Angeles based on what I’m seeing in their home cities now. What about Oakland,you say? I think the Raiders have enough of a following at home and enough of a relationship with the city to try and work things out there.
The World Series starts Tuesday in Kansas City where the Royals,making their second appearance in a row in the Fall Classic, will host the New York Mets,making their first World Series appearance since 2000.
The Royals come into the series after beating Toronto in six games in the ALCS where it was both teams delivering routs back and forth,but in the end it was the Royals outlasting the Blue Jays and they head back to try and win their first world championship since 1985. With players like Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon,and Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City has a line-up of guys who are powerful with the bat.
The Mets are hoping to secure their first world championship since 1986 after coming off of a sweep of the Cubs in the NLCS. Daniel Murphy has been on fire this postseason,hitting a home run in six consecutive postseason games. Can he keep the fire going or will he crash down to earth? I think the Mets have the edge with their pitching. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are the best pitchers on the team and they will give the Royals a run for their money much like Madison Bumgarner did in the last World Series.
I think the Mets will win it in seven games. They proved to me in the series against the Cubs that they can match-up well with very good teams and the Royals are a very good team. There’s just something about them that makes them a team of magic this year and I think that magic turns into a championship.
See you next time!