How much value do you put in journalism?

How much is this rag tag industry I love worth to you? How much do you value the daily proposition at hand?

Today, now more than ever, we’re at a cross roads. No, I’m not writing about our country; I’m writing about the media. To be specific, I mean the uninfluenced, open dialogue platform that is the medium which you are consuming right now — journalism. Specifically newspapers. The analysis of the slow death of this industry is endless, and really ruthless in a lot of respects. On one end, we’re watching as newspaper companies are bleeding from their self-inflicted wounds (McClatchey or Tribune) and on the other we’re watching under-capitalization put the dagger right in the back of broken communities (MediaNews). In the middle, the economy has tanked so far as much to put a strain on many a consumer, businesses and etc., for even the most solid papers to scream uncle. But in the end, we continue to circle the wagons right back to where we started. How much is knowledge worth to you?

Can you quantify how often it is that you depend upon what journalists provide? What a sports journalist provides? Do you know exactly what I do for a living? (Think cave-man like: I both hunt and gather news.) Look, the fat cat days of the ’80s are over. We know that. We are no longer working on a surplus budget in which we can throw money at coverage or people. Furthermore, industrial and philosophical change has divided the best of newsrooms.

Anyone with an ‘old days’ story will tell you that.

But the value of news, the information, the dialogue and the watchdog role is still paramount — at least in my belief. Who is going to follow the standards, set by editors long before me, to verify your sources thrice over? Who’s going to be fair?

I hope to explore that here. That and more.

Mavs and Cowboys to co-host all-star game

From the Wire:

Associated Press — The NBA All-Star game is coming to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in 2010 and plenty of good seats are available — more than 100,000.

Living up to the old adage about doing things bigger in Texas, the Dallas Mavericks and Cowboys are collaborating on hosting next season’s showcase event. It will be among the first major events at the soon-to-be-completed, $1.1 billion facility in nearby Arlington.

And, if all goes according to plan, this event will set the record for the largest crowd ever to watch an NBA game, shattering the mark of 44,735 set at the 1989 All-Star Game, not-so-coincidentally held at another Texas-sized venue, the Houston Astrodome.

“It’s totally outrageous,” NBA commissioner David Stern said.

Just wait until he hears Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s idea about putting the record out of reach.

“If we can get people to sit on each other’s laps, it could be 200,000,” Cuban said, laughing.

The 2010 All-Star weekend is being hyped as a collaboration between teams and cities. Some events will be held at the Dallas Convention Center, with the Mavericks’ arena hosting the rookie game on Friday night and the Saturday night festivities, which include the 3-point and dunk contests.
The marquee game will be Sunday, with center court right at midfield of the football stadium.

“We’ve got complete flexibility with the configuration,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “That’s what we spent a lot of money on, to adapt it to these kinds of events.”

The Cowboys also are trying to lure Final Fours. They’ve already landed the 2011 Super Bowl, as well as the Cotton Bowl, starting Jan. 1, 2010.

You can start voting for the NFL pro bowl

The ballot is out for those that are interested in voting for the Pro Bowl. You know, I always love to vote for these things but I rarely ever watch. It’s guaranteed every year I’ll catch the NBA All-Star game (and some of its festivities), I’ll tune in for a couple of innings for the MLB All-Star game, but I’ll never even come close to watching the Pro Bowl. I don’t even know what channel it comes on.

Either way, I’m voting for Adrian Peterson.

Warriors fall short in opener

The DeMarcus Nelson experiment didn’t turn out so well in the Warriors’ first game. He played sparingly, only 14 minutes, and scored six points in his time on the court. He only had two turnovers, but it’s clear from the numbers Don Nelson is not favoring him.

Here’s what the AP had to say:

Oakland native DeMarcus Nelson was the Warriors’ starting point guard, parlaying a strong training camp into the chance to become the Warriors’ first undrafted free agent rookie to start on opening night since the club moved to the Bay Area in 1962. After Stojakovic hit three jumpers over him in the first three minutes, Nelson was pulled for Azubuike — but he returned with a handful of strong plays in the second quarter, finishing with six points in 14 minutes.

On the other hand, it appears Corey Maggette is reinvigorated in the Bay. He dropped 27 points and had eight rebounds.

(I feel like I can just read from the box score and make all kinds of assumptions.)

But the end result is still the same. Warriors lose 108-103 with Chris Paul dropping the go-ahead layup with 19 seconds left.

I’m pretty sure the W’s and Kings are hopeless

I still miss Baron Davis. But Ron Artest, not so much.

I imagine Davis’ gaping hole in the Golden State Warriors’ lineup will only get bigger as we jump head first into the NBA season. But as Don Corleone would exude, “Fugghet about ’em.”

There are slim hopes for Northern California teams and even slimmer hopes of maintaining the progress seen in the last two years at either the Sacramento Kings or Warriors. It’s setting the stage for either a huge surprise or the most precipitated duds in a basketball season since before Rick Adelman and Don Nelson (the second time) ventured the west coast.

Unfortunately, I have an end of the world approach when I look at my favorite teams. I looked at the San Francisco Giants before their season started and figured they’d touch 110 losses easy. I sized up the A’s and realized they were trying to lose — astonishingly. I looked at the 49ers and Raiders and still have yet to recover from all the wild shaking of my head.

(I’m still in a daze after the last few weeks. October has been rough.)

But where I was off in my assessment (+15 losses for the Giants), I was spot on in my evaluation of the talent. Or, I should say, the lack thereof. Let me not venture into the realm of absurd punditry but go so far to say that the Warriors will unequivocally be a red herring in the Western Conference as they get up and down the court with the Hornets, Spurs, Lakers, Mavericks and Jazz but get down on themselves because of a lack of a go-to player for two months and an inconsistent low post defense. The games
will be exciting, but the end results will be hard to swallow. There’s just no way to defend against Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitski, Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden and the formidable Carlos Boozer without addressing the issue.

Can Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Randolph measure up? Their play will be the deciding factor in the Warriors’ success.

The Kings on the other hand, are have little going for them other than Kevin Martin. But you know that already. So I pose this question to faithful Kings fans: Who do you trade to get better fast?

You know that’s the only way to turn things around now, right. You also should know that trading is going to be tough because of all the contract bricks the Maloofs have been laying, there’s not much wiggle room.

Kenny Thomas, thanks to his $9 million salary and inability to crack the lineup, looks like a good option. But with his salary, he’s almost impossible to move. Sort of like Brad Miller. The overwhelming feeling is that the Kings are stuck with a lineup of role players and heavy contracts for at least a couple of years before they can get enough capital to go heavy in the free agency market come 2011.

In the interim, they have to hope John Salmons, Spencer Hawes, Francisco Garcia and Jason Thompson make impacts on the court every night. The young guys have to step up while the franchise is in such a delicate state of dismal, turnover and renewal.

The problem is they’ve already traded their tradeable pieces, with Mike Bibby and Ron-Ron sent packing last season. Now we have to sit around and wait till the Kings “figure it out” for two years and hope that some good comes of it.

Reminds me of those A’s.

I think I’ll pass. I can’t keep investing time into franchises that refuse to have a win now mentality. And unfortunately for Sacramento’s sake, they’re handcuffed for two years.

I’ll check in with the W’s two months from now after Monte Ellis returns and see if there’s something worth cheering then.

Singletary fills us in on his philosophy

In his first game at the helm of the San Francisco 49ers, coach Mike Singletary showed us what kind of job he would do. He benched J.T. O’Sullivan for his 17 turnovers, including three in Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, and sent Vernon Davis to the locker room for being “nonchalant” about causing his team yards after a penalty.

But who is better to explain Singletary than Singletary himself.



Nolan ouster guarantess nothing

Mike NolanThat was the worst firing in professional football I’ve seen in the last three weeks.

Seriously.

I wrote this originally for my newspaper, The Union.

When Mike Nolan walked the plank, I couldn’t help but think the Bay Area’s sports franchises were being defumigated following Lane Kiffin’s exodus stage left. Here we have a franchise, just like any other, that has put a premium on winning, and the best they can come up with is firing the coach, the offensive line coach and promoting their underlings in the middle of the season.

I think it’s fair to say, it’s illogical to believe that somebody below Nolan could inspire the very same people they directly presided over — let alone be better than what they’ve currently achieved. At 2-5 in the lowly NFC West and seven weeks into the season, it boggles the mind what good could come from changing the horse midstream.

And that brings me to a very important point, was he really doing so bad they had to drop him in the middle of the season? I think not.

These actions, as perpetrated by Scot McLoughlan and the York family, are reminiscent of the faulty planning in the wake of Steve Mariucci’s firing. The good coach, the one that was a winner for San Francisco, was sacked because he was too conservative for a team that was offensively deficient. In the wake of his firing, they installed an idiot a the top spot, Dennis Erickson, because they went into the coaching hunt without a plan. It was an irrational witch hunt for blame that ended in an unqualified hire.

The 49ers haven’t recovered since.

There is a distinct flavor of irrationality in Nolan’s maligned firing as well. Nolan is taking blame for a timid offense that was supposed to explode under Martz (anything is better than last year’s offense) and a faltering defense. But while each faults are egregious wrongs in their own right, they do not pass the litmus test for mid-season firing. Nor do they, in any respect, offer a forward thinking move for a franchise tanking any hopes to make the playoffs before the halfway mark. This year’s other examples of mid-season firings, the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders, are perfect examples of teams that never had a chance. Argue if you want, but the 49ers still had a chance to turn it around.

Kiss that positive note goodbye.

This decision by McLoughlan and Jed York, who is apparently now the face of the cowardly owners, is the sort of management usually relegated to the East Bay under the reigns of Weird Al. Surely the 49ers aren’t taking cues from mister power nut himself. Furthermore, there is no precedent that mid-season changes end positively.

In 1978, the 49ers did the same thing with coach Pete McCulley. He was fired after starting 1-8 that season. His successor, Fred O’Conner, was fired after finishing the season 1-6. There’s no telling the 49ers would repeat that disastrous history, which precluded Bill Walsh’s rise to power, but it is representative of the dangers of making injudicious changes.

In the defense of McLoughlan though, he at least had the sensibility to go with Mike Singletary over Mike Martz. (How many Mike’s does it take to screw in a … ah forget it.) With Singletary, you get a powerful and respected voice in the locker room. His methodology, as has been noted in many media channels, is accountability. That’s necessary going forward. While Martz is a profound offensive mind, he needs to be reeled in. Hopefully, with strong leadership, he can focus on the basics to spark the team’s offense. And with a renewed sense of accountability, and maybe a little shock, the defense will step their game up.

But really, it all screams futile. There’s no way a physical change will guarantee the next nine games this season will be worth watching, nor does it guarantee the problems of this franchise magically disappear.

All this does is provide a scape goat for a lack of franchise planning. Nolan just happens to be the sacrificial lamb.

Pacman put on timeout

That didn’t take long. Six games into reinstatement after a 17 month suspension, Adam “Pacman” Jones is out of the league again. His latest alcohol-related scuffle didn’t sound terrible (nobody was shot at least), but when the police were called, it was enough for commissioner Roger Goodell to indefinitely suspend the cornerback for the second time. He’ll miss a minimum of four games.

How hard is it to not fight people? How hard is it to not have the police called because of you? I can’t figure out where things went wrong, what with Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin mentoring the guy. While Pacman hasn’t said a word about it publicly, Deion was willing to stick up for him.

“Adam was just there having a good time, and he was upset that [bodyguard Tommy Jones] wasn’t there on time,” Sanders said. “There was security there, but Tommy had something that came up suddenly, so he wasn’t there on time. So when he arrived, Adam was just letting him have it verbally — no profanity involved. ‘Where were you? I needed you.’ Tommy took it serious and Adam was just playing. Then they took it into the bathroom and got into a pushing and shoving match. That’s what escalated into something.”

I’d like to believe Deion, who also said Pacman wasn’t drinking, but it doesn’t really matter one way or the other. He’s gone, and the question now is when or if he’ll be back, and whether the Cowboys should take him back.

Even if Goodell allows Pacman to return after four games, it’s nearly impossible to count on him in the long term when he can’t stay out of trouble with 24-hour bodyguards. Another part of me believes Uncle Jerry Jones can do anything. Somehow he’ll make this work. Yeah, I’m gonna go with that.