Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Ask J-Dub – Episode 6

lucy-van-pelt-psychiatrist

The mailbag here at Dubsism World Headquarters brought us yet another round of interwebz gold.   We dare you to ask the questions that we have the balls to answer.  So if you have such a query, throw it at us like you’re Chris Sale beaning Manny Machado.  As always, we’re here to help, not judge no matter how brutally fucked up you are.  Don’t worry abut attracting a bunch of kooks sending you a lot of crap.  We won’t publish your email or twitter handle unless you request us to do so. If you wish to remain anonymous, just supply us with a nom de plume* like you will see on some of the following questions.

*Nom de plume is just a fancy French phrase for “fake name.”

Question #1:

Dear J-Dub,

The NBA is rigged, right?

~LeBron Gets More Steps than the Shriner’s Parade

“Rigged” is such a strong word, and I don’t have anything that backs that up in a serious capacity.  There’s always the common perception about the draft lottery, and I could take the cheap shots and bring up the fact this league recently had a referee buy a conviction for point-shaving.  Having said all that, I’m guessing this might be the source of your question.

But the reality is that the NBA is a league which has always had two sets of rules, but the even bigger reality is that all sports are like that, because the problem lies in the officials working the games.  That means in terms of “rigged,” I don’t buy the idea that the referees in the NBA get told to make sure certain team win certain games, and there’s a simple reason for that.  I don’t think as a whole NBA officials are competent enough to throw games.

Think about it.  If you look at the video in that link, if you were fixing games, you would never let that call slide because that would be just too blatant to let go.  The whole idea of rigging a game is not to let anybody know you doing it, and if you have enough calls where you let a guy double-dribble, travel, and step out-of-bounds, people will get suspicious enough to start digging up footage of all the games you called, and if you are fixing things, they’ll notice certain teams always cover the spread when you’re manning the whistle.  Just ask Tim Donaghy.

Let’s go back to that LeBron James video;  that wasn’t a function of “rigging;” that was all about the fact in all sports, different players get different calls. To me, the NBA has a culture in it’s officiating ranks which gives larger lee-ways through rules two two types of people; star players and players/coaches who bitch the most about calls.  Think about it…LeBitch tops both categories; nobody gets more calls nor cries more about the ones he doesn’t get.  If you didn’t like the last video, you’ll really love this one.

As for coaches, one not need look any further than the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.  Nobody works the refs harder than “Pops;” and not many teams get friendlier calls than the Spurs.

Question #2:

Dear J-Dub,

I tried blogging for a while, but I couldn’t handle when I got hate mail.  How do you handle it?

~Discouraged in Des Moines

Don’t be discouraged about blogging; you should be discouraged that you live in Iowa. Let’s be honest, Iowa only exists to rip the guts out of Minnesota Golden Gopher football fans every fall.

Cracks aside, I will answers that with three points.  The first is a quote from Clay Travis…”Don’t be a pussy.” If you’re going to put your opinions out there for public consumption, you have to live with their regurgitations.

The second comes from a guy with whom I almost never agree, Colin Cowherd…”If I piss you off, I win.”  Cowherd is 100% tube steak, but he’s absolutely right in the sense that you have to hit a chord with people to illicit a response, positive or negative.

Lastly, the best way to get quality feedback beyond creating thought-provoking content is to make it hard for those offering feedback to simply be anonymous name-callers.  That’s why you don’t see a lot of that sort of thing in our comments section or on our Twitter feed.  But since we actively squelch that sort of thing, it does make the email inbox at Dubsism rather interesting, which was the genesis of this column.  A lot of web-traffic experts will tell you that controlling input in such a manner limits readership, but we’re not in this for money; we think it’s better to have 10,000 engaged, informed readers than a million “First Take” watchers…if there are actually that many.

Question #3:

Dear J-Dub,

Are you ready to admit you were wrong about the Philadelphia Phillies being an “up and coming” team?

~ New York Dave

In a word,  NO…because that’s not what I said.  I’m pretty sure you are referring to your question from Episode 4 of Ask J-Dub where I discussed having allegiances to multiple teams in sports where I tabbed the Phillies as my “fling” team.  Since you’ve clearly forgotten how I defined that term, allow me to refresh everybody.

That leaves us with the “fling”…that team who catches your eye, for whatever reason, and as quickly as it started, the interest wanes.  For me, this is usually a baseball team with a ton of young talent that’s fun to watch, but after a while you realize they really aren’t that good yet. This is like that smoking hot twenty-something who sits a few cubes down from you at the office.  You end up getting a room at the hotel having your company Christmas party where a night-long suck-and-fuck fest reminds you that twenty-somethings may look pretty fucking good, but they don’t really know how to use what they’ve got.  Current Fling: Philadelphia Phillies

This describes the 2017 Phillies to a FUCKING TEE!  Coming out of spring training, the Phils and their wealth of young talent did catch my eye, but the difference between potential and realization of said promise is experience and consistency.  In other words, they are the prototypical hot twenty-somethings who are still learning how to fuck.

Question #4:

Dear J-Dub,

We’re finally at the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals.  Who ya got in each?

~World’s Biggest Hoop-ckey Fan

I’ll get the NBA out of the way first.  This series likely to be as boring as the rest of the play-offs have been. Trying to stop the hydra that is the Warriors offense is like being caught in the middle of a field in a hailstorm…you can’t run, you can’t hide, and you can’t make it stop.   Everybody conveniently forgets these aren’t the same teams which met just 12 months ago; as the stars may be the same (with one glaring exception), the rest of each side’s dozen is significantly different. Yeah, it’s easy to point at the Warriors’ addition of Kevin Durant and say that’s the difference, but that misses an important point.

Time for a homework assignment, sports fans!  Look at the Warriors’ top players in terms of minutes played, then reference that against who their top scorers in terms of points per game are.  Compare that list to that of the Cavaliers, then tell me what you notice.  When you see it, the following sentence swill make perfect sense.  The difference is because on the offensive end of the floor, the Warriors do a much better job as a team moving without the ball, which creates more options in terms of scoring opportunities.  Again, it easy to notice the Warriors have three guys averaging 25+ points per game, but when a team is getting shots for Draymond Green and and Andre Igoudala combining for nearly 20 points per game, it means they are maximizing scoring chances for the guys who are on the floor the most.

Just like the aforementioned hydra, if you cut off one head, it just grows another.  If you stop one of the Warriors’ scoring options, they just switch to another.  I’m not convinced LeBron James can carry the Cavaliers team through four wins against that hailstorm.

As for Lord Stanley’s Cup, this series between the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins promises to be interesting for one reason the average “tunes in come June” hockey fan (like SportsChump) won’t understand right away…but that’s why J-Dub is here to break it down for you.

The casual hockey fan knows the mantra about the team with the “hot goalie” wins.  What the real ice-in-the-veins guys know is part of having that “hot goalie” is a having a top-flight defenseman in front of him.

Doubt that? Go back and look at each of the last ten teams to hoist the Stanley Cup…every one of them had a serious #1 blue-liner.

  • 2016: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2015: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2014: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
  • 2013: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2012: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
  • 2011: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
  • 2010: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2009: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2008: Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2007: Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, Anaheim Ducks

When the Penguins lost Kris Letang to an injury late in the season, it fundamentally changed their approach in the defensive zone.  Conversely,  while everybody has been lauding the Predators’ Pekka Rinne for being the aforementioned “hot goalie,” not enough people are noticing defenseman P.K. Subban’s role in Nashville’s rise to hockey biggest stage.  Oh, except the people in Montreal who watched Subban end up as the “fall guy” for the Canadiens’ host of problems.  Montreal dealt Subban to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber in the hopes that such a shake-up would change the team’s fortunes.  Well, Nashville is in Stanley Cup Final and Montreal isn’t.  You don’t need the super-computers at NASA to piece that one together.

What is all boils down to is while everybody is waiting for the match-up of the “irresistable force” in the Penguins’ front line of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel against the “immovable object” in Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.  Yeah, Rinne is the leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy after the stone-wall jobs he laid on the Blackhawks, Blues, and Ducks, but Subban is going to play a heavy-duty role in how that match-up plays out.

Question #5:

Dear J-Dub,

I’ve seen your list of essential films, but what’s your favorite?

~Casino…Ca-seen it

First, nice obscure David Spade reference.  It’s also perfect for this question because we all have those movies that when we spot them in the vast wasteland of our TV package, the surfing stops and we’re watching.  “GoodFellas” and “Casino” are in that category for me; I’m watching until I realize I own them both on Blu-Ray so I don’t have to live through over-dub atrocities like “FREAK YOU, SAM ROTHSTEIN!!! FREAK YOU!!!”

But to answer your question, my all-time favorite movie is Stanley Kubrick meisterwerk “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I could spend all day listing reasons why, but let me stick with the biggest one.  Over time, “2001” becomes the classic “anti-modern” movie in the sense that it is a Sci-Fi film almost completely needless of over-the-top special effects. There’s no laser-beams or planetary explosions; the space scenes are done exclusively with models and lighting, and the hallucinogenic scenes in the ending are simple film-school trickery.  Despite that, you can watch this movie 100 years from now and it will still hold up.

Another reason why this is the classic “anti-modern” movie is it uses the scenery to tell the story.  If you’ve ever seen the movie “Jaws,” you know that Steven Speilberg used the tranquility of the ocean to be completely fucking terrifying, because you never knew when the shark was going to burst forth.  Ridley Scott used the same technique in “Alien;” that movie uses serenity to exemplify the boredom of long-distance space flight…up until that thing grabs John Hurt’s face and later bursts out of his chest.  Once there’s a monster loose on the ship, there’s no telling when it is going to pop up. And that’s why you spend the rest of that movie on the edge of your seat even when nothing is happening, because you never know what’s next.

Both Spielberg and Scott got that idea from Kubrick, who used it to perfection in “2001.”  That movie uses silence and scenery to build a powerful allegory about man vs. his own technology through out the film.  In a movie approximately 2.5 hours long, you won’t hear the first word of dialogue until you are 26 minutes into the picture.  In that time, you go from the “Caveman Scene,” in which early man learn how to use to uses bones as a tool, which morphs into using bones as a weapon, which leads to the scene where the cavemen beat one their own to death with…you guessed it…bones.

That scene ends with a caveman flinging the death-blow bone into the sky where it jump-cuts into a spaceship. Even though that transition represents a leap of tens of thousands of years, it takes almost no time at all to see the allegory present in both scenes;  be it a bone or HAL 9000, technology is a double-edged sword.  That’s about as “anti-modern” as one can get.

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