by Ryland Walker Knight
So I didn't even start a fantasy baseball team this season. Oh well. There's better ways to waste time on the internet, right? Or, better still: there's good weather in California, good enough to drive me outside -- to play basketball. I'm not especially good (I may even be "bad") but since the start of 2008 it's been a lot of fun shooting and driving and running around with my friends. Some of it, I think, is inspired by the fun-times play of the Golden State Warriors this season. Every game I've watched has been full of awesome feats of athleticism (by Baron, yes, but moreso by Monta Ellis since the new year began). We even went to a game (that dope come-from-behind win over the Lakers) earlier in the season, which was the best thing I did over my winter break, I'd wager. It's going to be hard for any A's games to top that fever-pitch level of enthusiasm. Even with a lot of beer and sunshine. Because, as much as I'd like to be hopeful, I don't see the A's winning more than 70 games this year, if that. They have a pretty decent starting five, it's true, but I'm very suspicious of their line-up, and of Billy Beane. I think we could see today's starter, Rich Harden, gone by the deadline. (Probably more likely: yesterday's starter, Joe Blanton, will get a new uni quicker.) But that's baseball. The A's are rebuilding. One can only hope (as I'm trying) that things will look a lot better down the line. They did pick up a lot of prospects in those two trades, though, so I guess I should trust that guy in charge: he's made a lot of correct decisions. I mean, there was that book about him after all.
But, in the meantime, I'll occupy myself with how the Warriors close out their schedule. There's 8 games left. It seems likely that they can beat Dallas again tonight, and Memphis on Friday, before rolling into Chris Paul's Hornets on Sunday (it's on ABC!), which, in all likelihood, will be another L, or a real test in any event (outcome). If the W-men (pace Shay) can beat Denver, and give Phoenix a good run, they'll be in good shape, I think, to hit the playoffs a second year in a row. And you gotta like their chances more when you remember that Dirk probably won't be back to full health this season and that there's three cake games (Kings, Clippers, Sonics) tossed in there after New Orleans, too. And it's not like any of the three teams has any scheduling advantage down the stretch. It's just a reiteration of that adage: Every game counts. But, hey, I'm buying that marketing slogan: this is where amazing happens. I hope there's some amazing coming.
[Pix, both from ESPN.com: A's fans dozing / Baron getting big. Videos: 1. Official NBA ad / 2. Fan ad.]