Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's Moving The Needle - October 1, 2007

What's moving the needle at the start of this week? This week, just 3 topics. Isiah Thomas,The Patriots and Batman.

Isiah Thomas - It's a hard name to spell for whatever reason. What is it about certain combinations of letters or digits that make them harder to remember? Well anyway, it seems that MSG network may have to wrestle with a digit that has 6 zeroes behind it with respect to punitive damages. Oh, snap! Of course, Mr. Thomas has a tremendous amount of egg on his face, but Anucha Brown Sanders demanded $6M to walk away from the suit. Ronald M. Green, lead counsel for MSG "pioneered the use of preemptive litigation in suing current and former employees, and others, who threaten to bring legal proceedings of an extortionate nature against the firm's clients. He also is an innovator in the use of the federal Declaratory Judgment Act to protect clients' business interests that may be at risk from disaffected employees."

A guy like this does not come cheap and neither is the overhead associated with such an expensive attorney. How long has this case been in courts and what about pre-trial work, what's been the billable cost of it? Mr. Green is a name partner at his firm Epstein Becker & Green P.C. ("EBG"), he could easily be charging $500 per hour. This trial and the pre-trial phase has been on for months, I wouldn't be surprised if EBG had run up billable costs near the $1M mark. All signs point to an unfavorable verdict and the question is how much the punitive damages will be.

Ms. Sanders is not the most sympathetic plaintiff, but it seems clear she was harassed by a superior, and to me, that's sympathetic enough. If punitive damages awarded are even near the $5M mark consider it a big loss for MSG. They will have paid out in tandem with billable costs the same amount as Ms. Sanders demanded to walk away from the suit. In addition this public trial has revealed that as bad as the Knicks may be on the court, the "back office" is in worse shape. Punch it up as another loss for the Knicks. Fans are used to this by now. James Dolan continues to make his case for one of the worst owners in sports.

The Patriots - Wow, let's cancel the season and give these guys the Belichick, I mean Lombardi trophy. It's hard for me to hear the breathless analysts talking about these teams since they seem to be tripping over each other to either fellate Favre or the Patriots. Before we coronate the Pats, let's note one thing. The combined record of the four teams they've played to this point have a 4-8 record NOT counting the losses the Pats handed to these teams, otherwise their combined record is 4-12. The winning percentage of the teams on their schedule for the rest of the year for games they've played this year is 47%, not counting the undefeated teams of the Colts and Cowboys it shrinks to 35%. This is a schedule almost worthy of the '72 Miami Dolphins. The next five games for the Pats will really determine whether they're a good team or a potential team for the ages. The upcoming 5 games pit them against teams that have accumulated a gaudy 12-7 record including undefeated Colts and Cowboys teams. If they get through that stretch 5-0, I'll put a Pat Patriot decal on my jalopy.

Having said that, 4 games into the season isn't a big enough sample size for any sort of prognostication. I'll take a look at Brett Favre's "revival" at the halfway mark and analyze what's up with Brady's Bunch after their game with the Colts (Game 9 of their season). The way both teams are playing, this will, undoubtedly be the big matchup of mid-season. It'll also clearly establish which team are the Super Bowl favorites, all things remaining the same.

All-Star Batman & Robin # 7 - I love this comic and normally, I would review it, however, a gentleman by the name of Stephen Schleicher over at his wonderful website http://www.majorspoilers.com/archives/2519.htm/ has written a wonderful review that pretty much exactly states what I feel about this much read and much maligned series. That site in general is one of my most frequently visited, so if you love comics, it should definitely be a frequent update.

In a bit.

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