Who says Santa Claus doesn’t exist? Thank you, Arte Moreno, for your overwhelming generosity this offseason; and thank you Jerry DiPoto for being a capable GM and getting this done. Forget about Christmas…let’s get ready for Spring Training.
Many people mark April 15th on their calendars as a reminder to pay their income tax. It is also a day for large U.S. corporations to celebrate another victory over common man and revel in the fact that they will pay Uncle Sam jack squat as they realize $10 billion in profits (GE did just that in 2010). With these troubling disparities, all we have as working class slobs is the solace that only April can offer: relatively half-decent weather in which to drown our sorrows, a new Major League Baseball season, and the beginning of the actual NBA season — the playoffs.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will look at key playoff series — should they actually exist — and combine our efforts and energy so that we might actually survive the brutal eight-week trek to the NBA Finals. But first…
Regular Season Round Up
If you have not been following professional basketball up until the playoffs, fear not. You missed nothing. The 2010-2011 campaign offered few surprises other than Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and his meteoric rise to a chorus of overwhelming harmony in the likely unanimous vote for Rose as regular season MVP.
There was surprise in Utah, however, where the wishes of a fragmented Utah Jazz fanbase materialized in all forms during 2010-11. They ran Carlos Boozer out of town immediately following last year and Boozer now finds himself amidst a championship run with Chicago. Those who were jaded with Jerry Sloan and his 20-plus years reign as head coach had their call answered when the great Sloan, presumably fed up with today’s pampered athletes and a stubborn Deron Williams, retired before the All Star Break. To top it off, the Jazz lost the player that ran Coach Sloan out of town — Deron Williams, who was until then, the face of the Utah Jazz. In essence, a lose-lose-lose in Salt Lake City.
People may attempt to qualify the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York as surprising; I file it under “who cares” (much the same way fans in Denver have).
Now, none of that matters. However, as lengthy and predictable as the regular season was, you can expect more of the same in the playoffs. Especially the length.
Only the NBA and NHL boast playoff systems that span the course of at least two full months. They are also similar in that less and less people actually watch — or care — what happens. Apathy aside, here is one reason to watch…
Each year, April breathes the warmth of life among inhabitants of the United States of America. Drab hues of brown and grey give way to a rebirth of greens, reds, whites, and pastels, signaling an end to frost-laden hibernation and a return of sprawling natural vibrancy. Ancient pagans believed this rebirth was due to the return of the Green Man from his winter’s slumber, when trees and flowers begin bloom.
In modern America, the promise of spring has evolved into visions of fire-spewing barbecue grills with sizzling meats alongside friends and families begin to fill the hollow void in our souls after enduring what seems to be an eternity of frozen misery–all of which was compounded by Award Season on TV and political stalemate resulting in Democrats transforming into Republicans.
Most importantly, baseball is back.
Two weeks have passed in this year’s six-month slog to the World Series and the Gods of Baseball have treated us to a delightful assortment of springtime sunshine that gives one hope that things may really be alright with the world. My favorite stories so far? Angelic Aces on the mound in Anaheim, the Red Sox mightily struggling out of the gates, and the ceremonious exit of Manny Ramirez from the game of baseball.