Time for some of my famous half-assed sports thoughts!


Man, I am mad at myself for not paying more attention to Sunday’s All Star Game. I blame L. I told her the game was on and she wasn’t interested, so we watched other things. I turned it on for the last 30 seconds of the first half then switched away, got distracted by a book and emptying the dishwasher, and forgot about it until it was over.

Sounds like the new format was a success, though. This Elam Ending thing is certainly intriguing. I really hope that the NBA uses it in the G-League and summer league games, or even that some college holiday tournaments give it a shot. I like the concept but I really want to see it in a true game setting to understand how it works in practice. I’m suspicious about changing the context of a game within the game. But I would also love to find a way for the end of close games to not take 20 minutes of real time to play.


The Houston sign stealing scandal has gotten really good over the past few days. You have players calling out the Astros and the MLB commissioner. You have fans just destroying the team and the league. In an era when so many dramas are manufactured, this one is 100% legit and I’m waaaay in on it turning into a season-long beef.

I saw this morning that an oddsmaker set the Astros hit by pitcher total for the upcoming season at 83.5. My initial thought is that seems low, although I’m sure MLB is going to step in and do its best to chill things out if the beanings get out of hand in April, which could make that number about right.


You see what they’re doing, don’t you? Marcus Garrett having the best shooting game of his life Saturday? And Devon Dotson repeating the act Monday night? They’re getting all those shots out of the way so they combine to go a very March-like 0–21 on Saturday against Baylor. At least it’s February…

Seriously, game of the year Saturday in Waco (assuming Baylor beats Oklahoma tonight). I hope KU has a better plan to attack Baylor’s defense than they did a month ago.

Marcus Morris

Plenty of chatter among KU fans about whether Marcus Morris was deserving of having his jersey retired. Since the standards were relaxed late in Roy Williams’ run, I think Marcus absolutely fits the standard: he was the Big 12 POY which, even at KU, should be enough. As a couple writers keep pointing out, he had the most efficient and impressive offensive year of any player in Bill Self’s tenure.

Still, I understand some of the reluctance. And I think it’s totally based on how Marcus’ teams never made it to the Final Four. Most of all, it goes back to the 2011 VCU game, the worst loss of Self’s career and perhaps in school history.

CJ Moore had an interesting conversation with Elijah Johnson on The Athletic about that game. Elijah is always a super interesting quote, but I can’t believe I hadn’t heard him share this story before. He said in the team’s film session before the VCU game, the coaches ended it with a highlight reel of the 2010–11 season. The design, it seemed, was to remind the players of all the good things they had done and how great they could be.

However, Johnson said, the players took it a totally different way. He said the film room was dead quiet afterward. Some players were emotional. He said instead of inspiring them, the highlights reminded them of how close to the end they were, a big deal for a team that was exceptionally tight. He also said it made him feel like no matter how they played in the VCU game, they couldn’t match what had been contained in those highlights.

Fascinating. It may explain why KU came out so dead in the opening five minutes of that game, digging a hole they could never get out of.

It also makes me madder about the game I’ll always be maddest about. A freaking highlight video kept a team with the easiest path to a national championship any KU team has ever had from beating a team that shouldn’t have even made the tournament? Going to find a stray dog to kick for awhile…


Speaking of kicking dogs, there is a lot of smoke around the rumors that Phillip Rivers could end up as a Colt. I totally get it. You go get Rivers or Tom Brady or Drew Brees or some other competent, experienced quarterback, draft someone else in the first round, and use the veteran to get through the next two years before that rookie is ready to play.

But Phillip Fucking Rivers?

For starters he’s a douche. His skills are clearly on the decline. Most of all, he and his teams were Kryptonite to the Manning-era Colts. They knocked them out of the playoffs twice, once with Rivers on the sideline injured. They ended the Colts’ perfect season in 2005.

At least Brady won Super Bowls. And even lost Super Bowls. Rivers’ teams have never gotten close. His game is clearly on the decline. He’s never been mobile. Seems like a horrible move to me. Just another reason for me not to watch the NFL, I guess.

I’m also fearful the Colts will draft Tua Tagovailoa. No doubting the kid’s heart, but he’s undersized and always hurt. Not a recipe for a franchise QB.

The Algorithm

Sometimes the various algorithms that run our lives are spooky. M is creeped out by the ads that pop up on her Instagram feed. They seem to mirror closely conversations she’s had. The other day she was saying “DOG FOOD!” near her phone, over-and-over, to see if that sparked a bunch of dog food ads. It did not, which I think proves the algorithm knows when you are trying to game/mock/test it.

I do enjoy how the algorithm works most of the time. Especially on YouTube, when it will randomly pick up some old song I haven’t listened to in years and spits its video or a performance of it out at me.

I say that because it’s been months since I’ve watched any 2014 or 2015 Royals highlight videos. Yet, last night when I was doing some research I’ll discuss in my next Reader’s Notebook entry, there were a bunch of ALCS and World Series highlight videos that kept bubbling up.

I approve, algorithm, I approve.