Monday, July 11, 2016

No Time For Bats

Breaking Bats
Saturday night in Las Vegas, the NBA Summer League came to town with an early matchup of NBA doormats -- the Sixers and Lakers -- but in the Summer, the least are first, and vice versa. With a national audience tuning in to see the 1-2 picks in the draft go at each other, Laker Nation filled the room in Sin City, giving an NBA playoffs (or, at least, All-Star Game) vibe to the proceedings.

The Lakers prevailed in a game that saw three lead changes in the last ten seconds, and we were all spared the ignominy of pretending to care about baseball for another day. All hail the emerging fun times that are NBA Summer League.

It was not always thus. It used to be that you'd root for whichever winter sport worked for you -- let's face it, hockey fans don't root for hoop, and hoop fans don't root for hockey -- and when your team was put out of its misery, you'd turn your attention to the local nine.

If they were any good, that prevented you from having to pay attention to NFL pre-season, which meant that you'd be into baseball alone for something like two months, or maybe three or four if the hoop and puck guys stunk it up. Then, you'd stay with baseball as long as it was competitive, because the NFL was pretty much a day a week thing, and that would take you back into the early days of hoop and hockey supplementing your football problem.

Now? Well, fantasy sports means that everyone is more likely to pay attention through the end of the regular season, especially for football. NFL pre-season is now damn near appointment television, because we all need to know who is going to be worth reaching for at the end of the draft, and injuries cripple a team or three every year. Hoop goes from October to June, but the Draft extends the interest, and so now does the Summer League. Every year, there's more trash sports for June through August, since that's where the bandwidth kicks in. Golf, Olympics, politics, national news that swamps all of that...

Which means, on some level, that there is even less time on the calendar for baseball, and maybe, um, none at all.

And if it means no one spends any time watching people hit batting practice home runs in a day or whenever?

Well, it's going to be hard for me to call that a poor development...

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