On the NBA Finals
I'm tired of hearing that the NBA Finals need to be "fixed." Sure, the Cavs were overmatched, and they got swept. Sweeps happen. It would have been nice if Cleveland was more competitive, but overhauling the playoffs would be a totally unnecessary knee-jerk reaction. No matter how you do it, it's going to happen sometimes that the most compelling matchups happen before the Finals. What people tend to forget, I think, is that the aim of sports isn't to find the best team, it's to find a champion--that's not always (or maybe even usually) the same thing. If the NBA wanted to have the two best teams in the Finals, they could have hand-picked Phoenix and Dallas about halfway through the season, let them play, and then the NBA season would end at a reasonable time of year. Problem solved. Under any other system, sometimes you're going to get a clunker series. Realigning the league to equalize the balance of power (currently in favor of the Western Conference, at least according to ESPN) might make a little more sense, but even that, I think, would be unnecessary. These things are cyclical, and it'll even out and even swing back the other way in time.
On the Reds
Manager Jerry Narron has no idea how to fill out a lineup card or manage a pitching staff. Granted, with the pitching staff, he doesn't have a whole lot to work with, at least in the bullpen. When he brought in Gary Majewski yesterday to relieve Homer Bailey with two men on, I knew the Reds were toast. At this point, though, I doubt that replacing him would really help--they've dug themselves too deep a hole to climb out of now, even in the relatively weak NL Central. I do think, though, that they can, should, and hopefully will get better over the rest of the season. I have a hard time believing they're the worst team in the National League.
Establishing some bullpen stability needs to be priority number one. They've blown a ton of leads late in games, which has been absolutely painful to watch. Getting closer Eddie Guardado back from the disabled list will help, as that will allow David Weathers (one of the few bullpenners who has been effective) to go back into a setup role, and I think that will help everyone down there. There are a couple of guys that should probably just be jettisoned at this point (Majewski and Jared Burton come to mind). The starting staff is actually pretty stable, with Harang, Arroyo, Lohse, Belisle, and Bailey; now they just need a manager who has some clue of when to take them out and when to leave them in. The offense needs someone who can get a hit in the clutch. Griffey is pretty decent in that regard, but the only other player I have any confidence in is Jeff Conine, who rarely plays. I have mixed feelings, though, about the potential trade of Adam Dunn, which is the rumor du jour. As long as they get something good in return, I suppose I wouldn't object too much--it would free up the outfield for Hamilton and Freel, which would improve the defense out there and give the offense a different feel. For as much fun as it is to watch him hit when he's on, Dunn just isn't the run-producer he needs to be.
On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer, On Vixen
On Cell Phones
With my current phone being around three years old and growing more unsatisfactory by the day, I'm exploring my options. I like Sprint's service, but I'm not terribly happy with their website. The "Upgrade Phone" option on their website hasn't worked for months, and when I contacted them to alert them, they responded that I would have to call customer service or visit a Sprint store. The link still doesn't work, but it hasn't been removed, either. I've found that talking to an actual person in regards to phones and service is a real hassle and runaround, so I really just want to order one online. Unfortunately, they apparently don't want me to do that. Since Brandi is with Verizon and just got a new phone (and a new two-year contract, I'm sure), I'm thinking of just porting my number over to their service so we can consolidate our plans. It doesn't seem, though, like they give as much of a break on their phones to new subscribers, so it would cost more upfront to do that. And I'm sure whatever phone I decide on (either way) will be pretty pricey, as I've become determined to get one with a full keyboard and enhanced Internet capabilities.