Thursday, February 25, 2021
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Mark Warner Visits India, Prepares to Lose Jump Ball to Much...

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Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is part of a Congressional delegation visiting India this week exploring business, trade, defense & cultural relationships. But today the 6'2" senator took a break to play a little basketball with 5'3" former Washington Bullets player Muggsy Bogues at New Delhi's Modern School:
Activities included a Junior NBA clinic for 75 local young people, led by Muggsy Bogues, followed by an exhibition game between two teams from the Mahindra NBA challenge youth league.

"It was great to see these Indian youngsters developing a love for the American invention of basketball," Senator Warner said. "I've played basketball my entire life, and even though I'm not especially good at it, the sport promotes fitness and teaches you a lot about teamwork. I think basketball might take-off in India."

I'm sure those children are only giggling at Sen. Warner's misfortune for being caught without the proper footwear to fully compete for this jump ball ... right?

To see more photos like this & keep up with his travels, go "like" Sen. Warner on Facebook.

Bowl Season Reminder: The NCAA is a Corrupt Cartel

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As college football bowl season gets into full swing, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera reminds us that the games will generate millions in revenue for the schools and coaches - and almost nothing for the kids actually playing:
The hypocrisy that permeates big-money college sports takes your breath away. College football and men's basketball have become such huge commercial enterprises that together they generate more than $6 billion in annual revenue, more than the National Basketball Association. A top college coach can make as much or more than a professional coach; Ohio State just agreed to pay Urban Meyer $24 million over six years. Powerful conferences like the S.E.C. and the Pac 12 have signed lucrative TV deals, while the Big 10 and the University of Texas have created their own sports networks. Companies like Coors and Chick-fil-A eagerly toss millions in marketing dollars at college sports. Last year, Turner Broadcasting and CBS signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal for the television rights to the N.C.A.A.'s men's basketball national championship tournament (a k a "March Madness"). And what does the labor force that makes it possible for coaches to earn millions, and causes marketers to spend billions, get? Nothing. The workers are supposed to be content with a scholarship that does not even cover the full cost of attending college. Any student athlete who accepts an unapproved, free hamburger from a coach, or even a fan, is in violation of N.C.A.A. rules.

Wilson Ramos Returns To Nationals Park After Kidnapping Ordeal

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It's great to see Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos back at Nationals Park after his kidnapping drama in Venezuela. Ramos recently finished 4th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting (just ahead of fellow Nats rookie Danny Espinosa). We wish him in the best in putting the ordeal behind him and having a strong 2012 - and maybe leading a playoff charge? Video via Nats Insider:

So, Your “Team” Just Went 42-120, 42-120, 42-120? Now What?

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At the outset of this piece, let me just apologize for doing what I thought I'd never do: pull a George Allen. No, I haven't suddenly decided to deny climate science, shill for fossil fuels, advocate ultra-simplistic "answers" to complex world problems, pander to extremists, worship at the altar of crony capitalism, or live in a bizarre, mythological past something like the "Father Knows Best" 1950s meets the late-19th century/early-20th-century Robber Baron Era. However, I have decided to borrow one of George Allen's favorite ways of explaining the world, through sports metaphors. In George Allen's case, football is the sport of choice for this exercise. For me, it's baseball, which even great intellects like George Will (ok, maybe not) have compared (favorably) to life itself. Heh.

My baseball metaphor is a simple one, actually, not metaphysical or "Field of Dreams"/George Will mystical in the least. Instead, it's a simple, basic way of understanding how things go badly wrong in an organization, and what to do about the situation when they do. In this case, the analogy is between your favorite baseball team and the Democratic Party of Virginia. Specifically, imagine if your favorite team had just suffered its third 120-loss (out of 162 games) season in a row, sort of like the 1962 New York Mets (40-120) repeated in 1963 and 1964. Essentially, that's just what happened to Virginia Democrats, with 2009 (Deeds disaster, major losses in the House of Delegates); 2010 (Tea Party wipeout, goodbye Perriello/Nye/Boucher); 2011 (major losses again in the House of Delegates, loss of the State Senate majority, wipeout losses in Prince William and Loudoun Counties). If that's not the political equivalent of three straight seasons of '62 New York Mets'-style 42-120 records, I don't know what else would be.

So, if DPVA were a baseball team, what would now happen, assuming its owner had a clue (and some backbone)?

1. The first thing to do would be a thorough "After Action Report" -- a rigorous, top-to-bottom analysis of what went right (not much in a 42-120 season, or in this case with the Virginia Democrats) and what went wrong. Clearly, this analysis MUST be performed by external, unbiased, independent auditors/analysts who would examine the organization from top to bottom and make recommendations, preferably binding. The organization also might conduct whatever internal reviews it wanted to conduct, but unless that analysis were vetted and critiqued by outsiders, then it would be untrustworthy and essentially worthless.

Rock On VCU!

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Very cool!
The shot that sprung 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth to yet another unimaginable height was not meant to come off Bradford Burgess's hands, but he was open - wide open - and so the Rams collected perhaps their easiest basket of the night in the heart of the territory Florida State's imposing front court had protected so well.

Burgess's lay-in with 7.1 seconds remaining in overtime provided the final margin in VCU's 72-71 victory over the 10th-seeded Seminoles. on Friday night at the Alamodome. The Rams, who seemed destined to languish in the National Invitation Tournament after going 3-5 in February, will face top-seeded Kansas on Sunday with a spot in the Final Four on the line.

Screw You BCS

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I love NFL football. But I'm completely disinterested in NCAA football. Why?

If you hate watching meaningful football games, you should love college football's Bowl Championship Series. Maryland played East Carolina this week at RFK Stadium. Announced attendance was 38,062, thousands below capacity - at a stadium just nine miles from the Maryland campus. Feel the bowl excitement!

If you hate Cinderella stories, you should love the BCS. Texas Christian University has gone undefeated this year, but cannot win the national title. Boise State has finished undefeated twice in recent years, both times winning the Fiesta Bowl, without being allowed a chance at the national title either time.

If you like preserving wealth & power in the hands of the privileged few over a true meritocracy, you should love the BCS. Only 14 teams have appeared in the 13 BCS Championship games, with 10 of the 26 slots going to just 3 teams (Oklahoma, Ohio State & Florida State).

College football's lack of a playoff system is one of the great enduring atrocities of modern sports. Look at it this way: Can you imagine any other sport dismantling their playoff system in exchange for a lone title game in which the participants are based in large part on subjective opinions? What if the NCAA proposed canceling the NCAA basketball tournament & just letting #1 & #2 play for the title? Or if the NFL skipped the playoffs and put the Patriots & Falcons in the Super Bowl right now?

Amazingly, the BCS still has some misguided defenders. Just listen to this convoluted defense of the system from Not Larry Sabato: