Random thoughts from the world of sports, to distract you from your post-World Series/election hangover.
Not much to disagree with in the list of this year’s Gold Glove winners. I think Jackie Bradley Junior is a better center fielder than Kevin Kiermaier, but that is possibly just my own bias. The whole process is kind of weird, in my opinion. I mean, really, how does one rank fielders? You can’t just do it on who made the fewest errors, because slower guys are much less likely to even reach balls that faster guys get to which means they don’t even have a chance to make errors on balls other guys do. Somehow hitting ability always seems like a factor too. Very few truly terrible hitters win Gold Gloves. This does not seem like it should matter, right? Like I said, it’s a weird thing.
The College Football Playoff rankings are also a weird thing. Undefeated Washington seemed like a shoe-in for the first ranking, yet they were left out because someone thought Texas A&M was a better team, despite their one loss. Then, as the Aggies typically do, they cleaned up this mess by promptly losing their next game, which means Washington is back in the top four. I am glad there is a playoff in college football. I just wish it included the top 16 or 32 teams. Until it does, I don’t think we will get a true picture of who is the best team in college football.
There is very little doubt who is the best team in the NFL. It’s the New England Patriots, right? Well, not so fast. Don’t look now, but the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys have as many wins as New England. Who saw this coming? The NFL is a better league when the Raiders are good. I suppose the same can be said about the Cowboys, although that is tough for me to say, after spending the past 35 years hating them. Both Dallas and Oakland have exciting teams, featuring young players and it seems like they are set to be good for a while. Time will tell if they are better than the Patriots, but it is nice to have some new, albeit familiar, contenders.
Finally, let us close with a little basketball. It is interesting how much the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry in particular, are changing the way basketball is played. These guys are so adept at making three-pointers, and making them from further and further back, that the once prevalent basketball strategy of driving to the basket is becoming an afterthought. I mean, really, why go hard to the hoop when you can get an extra point while taking a shot from 22 feet (or further) away? It is an interesting evolution in a game that has changed dramatically since I started watching it back in the 1980’s. Big men are only relevant now if they can shoot the three. Athletic freaks like LeBron James seem to be on their way out now too as a skinny guy like Curry has made, and proven, his case that he is the best player in the NBA simply by knocking down very long-range jump shots.
As a long-time fan of the three-ball, I do enjoy this new brand of basketball and wonder just how far back these guys can go with their shots. Will players one day pull up after crossing the half-court line and put up a shot? As silly as that might sound, it seems like that is the direction we are headed in.