Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's Moving The Needle? April 24, 2008

What's moving the needle this week? What's resonating with me from last week or just bears watching? Without further adieu:

Chris Paul - The Hornets might be one of the few #2 seeds to be less favored to win at the outset of a playoff series in NBA history. That's my guess. People cited "lack of experience" as one reason for the prediction of an upset (i.e. a lower seeding beating a higher seed). Two games later and the Mavericks have no answer for the Hornets. Not only that they don't really understand the problem of CP3. He is far too good for anybody on Dallas. One way to neutralize a great offensive player is to work them over on defense but Dallas doesn't have the horses. This series is over and CP3 is going be climbing up the Mt. Rushmore of point guards very quickly. Only Magic and Oscar are safe.

The Patriots - Former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh has reached an agreement with the NFL to turn over any materials related to "Spygate" and it's fallout. Look for the Patriots dynasty to be slowly discredited over the next few decades as more seeps out. The NFL is doing its absolute best to control the fallout, but history has a way of subverting these goals.

The Yankees - They are 11th in the AL for pitching (as measured by ERA) and running 4th in SLG with respect to hitting. They are 2 games over .500 at this, admittedly early, point in the season. The pitching is terrible; the hitting is excellent and not even firing on all cylinders. To say that Yankee managment has done an execrable job with respect to acquiring/developing pitching is an understatement. When you factor in the lack of any degree of difficulty as they have no real payroll restrictions the failure to assemble a serviceable staff is all the more glaring. Of course, overall, Yankee management hasn't done badly. They've gone deep into the playoffs in multiple years, went to the World Series in 2003, went to the ALCS in 2004 and have won the division nine out of the last ten years. Pretty good. You can't buy a world series, you just can't, but you can buy a playoff berth. The Yankees have done that. It's too early to tell, but this might be a year where they miss the playoffs brought down by their pitching.

Iron Man - The previews make the movie seem unbelievably good. The effects and production values are stellar. For all the hype surrounding the move, Iron Man is, at best, a 2nd tier character. Don't get me wrong, I really want to see this movie. If this elevates Iron Man to the level of the X-Men it's a credit to the movie, not the "iconic" status of Iron Man. "Demon In A Bottle" is a terrible story but like a virus won't go away. An often cited story about the emotional "complexity" of Tony Stark it is often cited by those who haven't read it. If you read it, you realize it's actually a terrible story and alcoholism is foisted on Stark; it is at it's best a shoe-horned "issue" episode that hits all the wrong notes. Tony Stark was a challenge to Stan Lee. How can I make a rich, arrogant guy into a hero? He succeeded. Making him an alcoholic later on made him more sympathetic or cliched, but it didn't make him better. Ugh.

Till the next time . . .

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