Sunday, November 13, 2011

NBA Switcheroo

The National Basketball Association is currently in a state of suspended animation. Not to be outdone by their NFL counterparts, the owners of NBA teams locked out their players back in July. The owners are looking to improve the financial status of their teams, but the players do not see any issues with the status quo. I will not attempt to resolve that particular issue, but I will attempt to correct another issue that is rampant in the NBA. Of course, I am referring to the issue of team names that do not match the cities which those teams call home. I promise my solution to this issue does not touch the Los Angeles Lakers.

My proposal starts in Canada with the Toronto Raptors. That team occasionally wears throwback uniforms bearing the name Huskies in reference to the professional basketball team that was based in the city back in the 1940s. Step one in this process, the Toronto team adopts to the Huskies moniker full time.

For the second step, the process moves to California. The Sacramento Kings may eventually become the Anaheim Royals or something similar. The team could be moving into Honda Center which is home to the NHL's Anaheim Ducks. Regardless of the move, I would suggest the team drop the monarchy theme and pick up the Raptors nickname. I would suggest the team avoid the dinosaur reference however and embrace predatory birds. Instead of the Raptors name, the team could even go with California Condors.

A royal nickname has now freed. To me, the obvious landing spot for the Kings name is Memphis where the Grizzlies would become the Memphis Kings. The name would have a lovely dual reference. The primary theme would be Egyptian pharaohs since the city of Memphis is a named after one of the capitals of ancient Egypt. (Similar to Cairo, Illinois, both the Egyptian city and its American namesake are tied to rivers, the Nile and Mississippi, respectively.) The Tennessee city has enthusiastically embraced the Egyptian reference already. For the team's third uniforms, a garish Elvis jumpsuit theme would be used in honor of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

While grizzly bears are not native to Tennessee, they have been known to inhabit the Rocky Mountains. Therefore, the Utah Jazz could become the Utah Grizzlies. This seems like a great idea except for a minor issue. There is already a professional hockey team that goes by the same name. That team plays in the minor-league ECHL. I will just assume that any conflicts between the two teams over the name can be resolved amicably.

The next step is completely obvious with the Jazz name returning to New Orleans. The team in NOLA changes its name from the Hornets to the New Orleans Jazz but keeps its Mardi Gras-themed colors. In the final step of the transition process, the Hornets name returns to Charlotte. Since the team in New Orleans would keep the current colors associated with the Hornets, the team in Charlotte would need a new design. I would suggest using black and gold like the old WFL football team with that name. The color combination would be unique in the NBA.

Changing the name of the Charlotte team to the Hornets would free up the Bobcats name. I have previously established my disdain for that nickname, and I doubt there would be any takers for that one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Double Duty

This is not a great picture, and I apologize to my imaginary readers for the crappy photo quality. I saw the container in the middle of the picture at the place where I get my hair cut. I tried to discreetly take a picture of the item with my cellphone. I assume this particular product a favorite with the ladies for several reasons. Based on the surrounding products, I would assume Kenra is the name brand of this product. However, I am not sure what this is suppose to be even after searching the Internet. Perhaps it is from the Kenra Platinum collection. It looks similar to this "Freezing Gel", but the bottle shown in that link does not seem quite as shiny. The place where I get my hair cut also carries haircare products from Redken, but this does not look like any of their products either.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thank You BCS

First, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series. Second, general opinion is that this year's World Series between the Cards and the Texas Rangers was one of most dramatic of all World Series. I agree that this was definitely an exciting series, but I do not think it was the best ever. In my opinion, the best World Series was the 1991 edition between the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins. That is even though Atlanta, my personal favorite team, did not win. Many people also rank as the best the 2001 World Series which had the Arizona Diamondbacks overcoming the New York Yankees. I really can not argue with that selection.

I have covered this particular rant before, but I still do not understand why playoff systems are considered the best method for choosing champions of sports leagues. A playoff tournament is really only useful for determining the best team over the month (or whatever duration) of the tournament. However, I do not think that playoffs are particularly useful for determining the best team over the length of the whole season. In the case of this baseball season, the Cards were tied with the Boston Red Sox for the eighth-best record with 90 wins and 72 losses. If instead of teams from the American and National Leagues being seeded separately in the postseason tournament, teams from both leagues were seeded together, St. Louis would have had to played Boston in a tiebreaker game.

The Cardinals only sneaked into the playoffs on the last possible day because Atlanta lost their last game. If Atlanta had won their last game, a play-in game between them and Cardinals would have been required. Of course, the Cardinals were only in position to claim a postseason berth in the first place due to Atlanta's epic late-season collapse. In early September, Atlanta had an 8.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the Wild Card standings but managed to miss the playoffs.

The current Super Bowl champions of the NFL are another example of not the best team winning the league championship. To clinch the bottom seed on the NFC side of the playoff bracket, the Green Bay Packers had to win their final regular season game against their archrivals, the Chicago Bears. As a sixth seed, the Packers had to win three consecutive playoffs games on the road to make Super Bowl XLV. As an aside, Super Bowls are held at neutral sites, and Super Bowl XLV was played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In the game, the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers who were the second seed from the AFC. The best teams during the regular season and thus number one seeds in the playoffs were the New England Patriots from the AFC and the Atlanta Falcons from the NFC. Neither of those two teams survived the playoff tournament in order to play in the Super Bowl.

On the other hand, the highest level of college football has a process where the two best teams meet in the championship game at the end of the season. Instead of a playoff tournament, the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) has postseason bowl games. The top four bowl games plus the championship game are included in what is called the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). With the BCS, teams are ranked using a formula that combines human voting and computer-based algorithms. The BCS rankings along with some other considerations are used to decide the matchups for each of the four major bowl games with the two highest-ranked teams guaranteed to play in the BCS National Championship Game. This process ensures that one of the two best teams will be crowned the champion for the season.