Friday, November 20, 2009

Charlie Coles

You have to love this clip from Miami's head basketball Charlie Coles after the 2 point Kentucky loss this past week. Seriously check it out if you have 2 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog delay update

It has been a long time since I have consistently updated my blog, which I blame on a few reasons:
  1. Relay shortage at work has increased my time spent at the Well significantly.

  2. My 4 year old Apple laptop is currently not working, which means I have to go into the guest room to use the Internet. This is not convenient to someone who likes to read blogs, emails, etc while watching TV.

  3. Lots of trips/visits. New Orleans with friends, my just completed "tour of the midwest" roadtrip and also JK coming to visit hasn't given me that much time to post any of my thoughts. Not to say that the trips/visits weren't worth it, but it is the reason.

Anyway, I apologize for the lack of posts. I have thoughts on sports (Jazz, Dolphins, Duke basketball preview), wedding plans (rehearsal dinner spot, hotel, etc) and even a new debate on the purpose of college education that I need to get to, but just haven't had much time. If there is anything specific you want me to write about let me know. In the meantime I need to get ready for my trip to Iowa tomorrow for a friend's wedding.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Minnesota Twins ticket scam

Anybody who knows me even a little bit knows that I am huge Minnesota Twins fan. I go to 10-20 games a year and watch a good portion of their games on FSN. My devotion is clear in September and October when the Twins are in the playoff race as it was in 2006, 2008 and 2009. I spare no cost in terms of time or money to go see my favorite team compete in important regular season games or the postseason. In return for this cost I have been able to see two As-Twins playoff games in 2006, a tiebreaker game against Detroit this year, and also a playoff game against the Yankees. Despite the Twins going 1-3 in those games I have had a good time and I believe that it is a mark of my devotion to the Twins that I went to each one of those games.

So why am I upset? Why is the subject line "Minnesota Twins ticket scam?"

The reason being is that the Twins have $204 of my money and have no plans of returning it to me. Let me explain. When you buy playoff tickets you have to buy an entire strip to see any possible home game during that round of the playoffs. In 2006 I bought tickets to 3 games since there was a chance that there would be a game 5 in Minnesota. In 2008 I bought tickets to 2 games since there was a chance that the Twins would win their division and play the Tampa Bay Rays in the playoffs. This year I bought tickets to both possible games of the Yankees-Twins series. Everything up to this point is completely normal and doesn't anger me one bit. The fact that I had to put 6 tickets for 2 games on my credit card didn't bother me either since I was buying them for some friends and I knew they would pay me back.

What upsets me is what happened after the Yankees swept the Twins in 3 games. I held on to my ticket stubs for a little while, but after a couple of weeks I remember tossing them in the trash can. There was no point in my mind on why I should be reminded that the Twins got swept every time I came across those tickets. In plus what is the point in holding tickets to an event that never happened. This was a huge mistake. After calling the Twins ticket office I was informed that I had to mail back the game 4 tickets to get a refund. This was NOT what happened in 2006 and 2008. Both of those years my credit card was automatically credited with the equivalent amount of the unplayed game(s). I am looking at my etrade account right now and I can see the MN Twins postseason credit of $190 back on 10/8/2008. Apparently in the fine print of the tickets that I paid for this year there was the note that I had to return the tickets to get my refund.

I don't know what the Twins are trying to do (steal money to use to sign Joe Mauer) but it seems unethical to me. They change their policy on ticket refunds yet they didn't really make a big mention of that when everyone was busy buying their tickets. Wouldn't a casual mention of that make sense? Now I am busy I asking my friends to try and go through their stuff and locate these unused ticket stubs. I already know I threw mine out, so I am out at least $68, but if my friends can't find their tickets then I am out $204. I hope that the Twins are happy with that money since they basically paid that to really upset and annoy one of the true diehard Twins fans out there.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sports update

College football
It was a rare good day in Oxford, OH yesterday (first victory of the year thanks to Toledo) and an all too common bad day (losing at Auburn) for those fans back in Oxford, MS.

I keep rooting for Oregon because I want to see Boise St. in the national title game. I would love to see a Boise St. - Alabama national title game. I might even have to buy a Boise St. shirt to root against the Crimson Tide and specifically Nick Sab(t?)an. Overall it is looking like this year would be the perfect year for a playoff. Wouldn't it be great to see Florida, Alabama, TCU, Cincy, Boise St., Iowa, Oregon and Texas in an 8 team playoff? Doesn't that work out for everyone? Would there be any teams that felt like they deserved a shot over those teams? Instead we are left hoping that there are only 2 undefeated teams left to make a clear national championship game. My guess is that there is no chance that will happen and will have at least 3 undefeated teams at the end of the year.

I watched the entire 2nd half between Iowa and Indiana. I was rooting for Iowa since I want to see an undefeated Iowa come into the Horseshoe two weeks from now when I go to my first OSU football game. Indiana had started to get my sympathy when a few key questionable calls went against them in the 3rd quarter. Then IU's coach had to punt the ball on 4th and 6 down by 11 with only 5 minutes to go. All the sympathy I had for them vanished at that time because I couldn't believe that the coach was throwing in the towel so blatantly. Down 2 scores with 5 minutes to go is tough to overcome, but it is is long as you don't give the ball up to the opposing team. I wonder if the coach was trying to cover the 17.5 spread because karma paid him back as Iowa came down and scored a touchdown and secured a cover with an 18 point win.

There are 3 teams I care about this year; the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks. Why three? The Jazz are my favorite team and I like their chances with their young, but experienced team. I think that continuity in basketball is very important and one thing I like about their team is that the roster doesn't change too much. They will bring in one or two players to help the team out, but for the most part the lineup is set. Let's take a quick look at their lineup:
  • Point guard- Deron Williams - drafted by the Jazz - 4 years with the team.
  • Shooting guard - Ronnie Brewer - drafted by the Jazz - 3 years with the team.
  • Small Forward - Andrei Kirilenko - drafted by the Jazz - 8 years with the team.
  • Power Forward - Carlos Boozer - signed as a free agent - 5 years with the team.
  • Center - Memhet Okur - signed as a free agent - 5 years with the team.
Key backups
  • Paul Millsap - drafted by the Jazz - 3 years with the team
  • CJ Miles - drafted by the Jazz - 4 years with the team
  • Kyle Korver - aquired in a trade - 2 years with the team.
  • Eric Maynor - drafted by the Jazz - 1st year with the team.
The Jazz have built a team that should surprise some people and contend for the Western Conferance championship.

The Timberwolves on the other hand lack any sort of continuity and seem more focused on managing their brand (young, exciting, and hardworking) than winning in the current season. That isn't to say I don't disagree with what they are doing since it was important for them to blow things up and start over. I like their financial flexibility and how they have some young, talented players at key positions. Kevin Love and Al Jefferson should handle the post responsibilities for a the next 10 years and between Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions the point guard spot should also be taken care of for awhile. Everybody else though are fillers who stand about a 50/50 shot of even being with the team next year. This team is in a state of change as evidenced by the fact that only 5 players came back from last year. There are a lot of college teams that don't see as much player turnover as the Twolves.

The good news about that above paragraph is that tickets should be cheap and plentiful. However, when I tried to go to the Cavs game on Friday there were only 3 scalpers and nobody had lower level tickets for less than $100. I know the Cavs are one of the few bigs games up here because of LeBron, but still that made me worry about the state of scalping for the Twolves. Maybe scalpers realize that they can't make much (any?) money on Twolves games and just decided to get out of the business? There will still be sites like stubhub, but for the best deals (without the fees) it is almost always better to talk to the street scalpers. I will continue to monitor the situation, but my first thought is that there won't be as many great deals as what I got last year. Let's hope I am wrong.

Finally, why do I care about the Knicks? It isn't because my brother-in-law has an affinity for the team. It is because the Jazz get the Knicks 2010 1st round pick. Thank you Isiah Thomas for letting go of that pick for Stephon Marbury. In what has to be one of the most lopsided trades in Nba history the Jazz got two conditional first round picks (one of them being the 2010 Knicks pick), Tom Gugiotta and cash for giving up Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. Neither Clark or Handlogten ever scored a single point for another team besides the Jazz after the trade. In fact Clark never played again and Handlogten only played 297 minutes for the Jazz in the 04-05 season after the Jazz resigned him again. How do you get a player, cash, two first round picks for nothing? Only in the NBA with their strange salary cap rules with trades could the Jazz could pull that off.

Right now the Knicks are 0-3 and with every loss the Jazz get closer to a top lottery pick.

I'm about to go to a bar to watch the Dolphins take on the Jets. I would be feeling much better about this game if the Dolphins could have won against either the Colts or the Saints. I can't shake the feeling that last year's team was blessed and this year's team is cursed. Last year's team had the easy schedule and won almost every close game. This year's team has been on the losing end of games they should have won and it just feels like that is going to be the norm for the year. I predicted 6-10 before the season and that prediction might not be too off. Still this team is fun to watch and I think they are headed in the right direction.