For Openers

October 29

                 Cliff Lee came as advertised Wednesday, and the Phillies win Game One.  Just as your humble little blog predicted.  Lee is looking like a left-handed Orel Hershiser in the post-season.

                The question is, will he pitch three times in the World Series?  After throwing 126 pitches Wednesday night, it doesn’t seem likely, and he’d have to pitch Game 4 on three days’ rest, which he has never done.  C.C. Sabathia can, and that could be a major difference, along with Mariano Rivera, for the Yankees.  One reason I think the Yanks can win in seven.  Stay tuned.

                ***

                 The Warriors opened the season doing what they did so many times last year.  Lose a close game at home.  They still don’t have a guy to take the big shot at the end of games, and they still don’t play defense consistently.

                 The Warriors were killed on hustle plays, rebounding, free throw shooting, and three-pointers by a team playing on the second night of a back-to-back.  A team missing its two best players.  Not encouraging.  Maybe the Rockets will take the ferry boat from their hotel every time they play the Warriors here.

                 The play of Stephen Curry was very encouraging, especially in the fourth quarter — despite one key turnover on a bad pass.  Also encouraging, Monta Ellis looks like he has his old quicks back.  But this team desperately needs a presence inside.  Rony Turiaf will get into foul trouble too much.  Brandan Wright is weeks away. 

                 No one expected miracles from this team this year, but they should be fun.  Kind of like a hot fudge sundae.  Yummy but not very good for you.

                  ***

                  Pro football players assume a certain amount a risk for the privilege of getting paid big money.  I don’t think anyone bargains for permanent debilitating injuries such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.  As players get bigger and faster, that risk seems to increase.

                  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his lackeys seemed to soft-pedal the issue before Congress, stopping short of making a direct link between head injuries on the football field and later brain diseases.  That drew the ire of House Judiciary Committee members who were spoiling for a fight.  Some compared it to tobacco companies denying a link between smoking and lung cancer.

                  Goodell defended the league as being pro-active on safety issues, and says they’re working on taking better care of retired players.  No sale.  Rep. Maxine Waters even threatened to look at the NFL’s antitrust exemption, the 20-megaton weapon that the House holds over the league’s head.

                  The NFL has enacted rules to make the game safer, and it is much more vigilant of players who get concussions.  49er linebacker Jeff Ulbrich’s season, and likely his career, is over.  That’s probably for the best in his case.  That might not have happened ten or 15 years ago.  In fact, former running back Merrill Hoge said as much.

                  However, the league and the players’ union should do the Walk of Shame for the greedy manner in which they have deprived veteran players of financial resources.  That includes pensions and licensing agreements, for players on whose shoulders the league was built.  A multi-billion dollar organization shouldn’t have any problem settling this issue.

                  As for the future, how far do you go with precautions?  Texas Congressman Ted Poe said if Congress meddles too much in football that could end the sport as we know it, saying “we’d all be playing touch football.”  I know that may be blasphemy in Texas, but maybe that should be the end game.

                  I love watching big guys hit each other, but the more I see how it affects them, the more guilty I feel — even if they’re well-paid.   How about owners and TV networks who make millions and billions?  When does it become blood money?

                   ***

                  A lot of people are running out of gas going across the San Mateo Bridge while the Bay Bridge is closed.  The TV report said that’s because people aren’t used to taking that route.  Does anyone know how to do math?  I’m pretty sure those drivers would fail the Wonderlic Test.

                  I actually had to read a spot today advising people not to text while driving.  Unbelievable that a warning is even necessary.  Don’t give me the generational argument.  Common sense is common sense.  I guess it’s further proof that evolution comes in fits and starts.

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