Would the real Celtics-Cavs series please stand up?

Okay, what TV executive got to the Cavaliers last night and told them to lay off? Am I to believe that the same team that put a historic beatdown on the Celtics in Boston Friday night couldn’t handle them at home two days later? And Boston without their best player?

Sounds a little fishy…

(pause to make sure no one’s listening)

But thank you.

Winter sports approaching finales

I’m glad to see the NBA playoffs (and really the whole NBA season) are following script. Let’s face it, a Cavaliers-Warriors rematch is what we’ve wanted and expected since three seconds after last season’s final buzzer sounded. Looks as though this dream will come true.

On the other side of things, in the NHL… please, please, please let it be Nashville and Ottawa headed to the Stanley Cup Finals. This would make for an unprecedented (I think) scenario in which you’d have the most-anticipated Finals contest and the least-anticipated Finals contest occurring simultaneously. You’ll have to excuse the giddiness of the NBA executives while you’d be wise to keep the sharp utensils away from the hockey execs. Just sayin’.

I’ve got a lot more free time on my hands now

The Winter of Ted is officially over, as both the Ted Leonsis-owned Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards have been bounced from their respective playoffs, the latter Wednesday night at the hands of the Boston Celtics. You’ve heard it said before that 90% of sporting contests are won by the better team. Well, Boston’s the better team.

It was all a moot point, of course, because standing between whoever won that game and a championship trophy were the Cleveland Cavaliers and, most likely, the Golden State Warriors. Talk about better teams.

And if Golden State plays like it did last night (a 136-100 drubbing of San Antonio), they are the better team to beat.

Series update

I finally got around to seeing all 10 episodes of Amazon’s new series on the life of Hugh Hefner (American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.) You’ll no doubt remember that I’d greatly looked forward to seeing this series but watched the first couple episodes with only sort of meh enjoyment (see “New Amazon series chronicles life of Hefner”). I stuck with it (difficult as that was… wink) and was glad I did. In all the complete package is worth your investment despite my initial misgivings.

There’s really nothing new here, other than the History Channel-styled dramatization of real-life photos mixed with reenactments. (Again, it’s more History Channel than Ken Burns.) It’s obvious to me that this series was meant to be released in about 1992, as that’s where most of the interviews end and the last quarter century or so of Hefner’s life (during which time some interesting things occurred) is sort of glossed over. Actually there are plenty of things that are sort of glossed over, but alas the series is only six and a half hours long. (The same Hugh Hefner is said to have once tried to write an autobiography but abandoned the project because he simply had too much to include. His personal scrapbook, for which he owns a Guinness World Record, is something like 2,500 volumes.)

If you’ve got time to invest (and who doesn’t in 2017 when you can watch nearly anything on demand?) I recommend American Playboy. Thanks, Amazon, for once again just making my life that much better.

Money, money

Sometimes the less said on local sports the better, and this week has been a fine example. The Wizards, of course, could turn things around with a win tonight, though I’d call it about 10% of the work they’ll have to do to get a win in the series with a potential Game Seven looming Monday night in Boston.

We turn instead to the writing of Mr. George Will, who, like Wednesday’s subject (Mr. Halberstam), stops writing about baseball occasionally to comment on public affairs. Will’s column printed in last Sunday’s Post (seen here!) describes an argument I’ve been making for years. (Usually while trying to explain free-market capitalism to six-year-olds.)

You’re better off today than the richest man alive a hundred years ago.

Fantastic as the premise goes, honesty and 30 seconds of conscious thought will show the statement to be true. Never mind the Internet, modern labor-saving devices, and easy access to medication… just think of indoor plumbing and electricity if you want to compare your life to those of your ancestors, even the rich ones.

Will relies heavily on the work of George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux, who uses as his example the world’s first billionaire (by most accounts), John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller’s life in 1916—when he increased the ranks of the world’s billionaire club from zero to one—would make the average person today recoil in horror. No e-mail, no cell phone, no Snapchat. And if you wanted Thai curry for lunch you’d better plan it about a month in advance. And book a steamship passage to Bangkok.

Would you trade lives with John D. Rockefeller? Louis XIV? Augustus Caesar? Mansa Musa? (Look him up.) Of course not.

Never mind the money… I don’t think we’d last 10 minutes without our smartphones.

Just holding my breath until gametime

Through either great planning or terrible planning the sports gods have smiled on the city of Washington with not one but two important games tonight involving our hometown Wizards and Capitals. (Nats got a game too but it ain’t exactly the playoffs yet.)

Sometimes it’s best not to think about these things until gametime. Worse still to make predictions.

Let me instead take this opportunity to mention a story not from Sunday’s Post but the previous Sunday’s on writer David Halberstam. Halberstam died a decade ago (while writing his next sports book, of course), and the laudatory piece laments his forgotten place among writers over that span. Not forgotten here, of course, though I’m ashamed to say I found only one Halberstam mention in the mikeoconnelljr.com archives. Here it is, promoting one of my favorite books, October 1964. In fact, this is one of about 12 books I’ve read in my life. Six or seven of those were written by David Halberstam. Not many conservatives admit to reading Halberstam, but if you can get past his obvious faults (Harvard, NYC suburbs, Pulitzer Prize), readers of all political stripes can appreciate his work.

I do. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let us “forget” him. Halberstam’s death was, of course, close in date to that of my own father, and the two will be forever linked in my mind for it. Don’t need the Post to remind me of that one.

This is why the Yankees play on Sunday nights

First off, thank you Wizards and Capitals for keeping my winter dreams alive for a Washington championship sweep.

Secondly, thank you to the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs for keeping me up until the wee hours of the morning, along with half the city of Chicago, very few of whom left Wrigley Field early despite freezing temperatures and 18 innings of baseball. You know Marlins Man stuck it out, there in his prime seat on national TV for the second night in a row.

The game ended at 2:15 Eastern (1:15 local) with strikeout number 49, the most ever in a major league game. Yup, you’re going to see something different every time you watch a game, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.

Thanks again, sports!

Would the real Washington Wizards please stand up?

Please tell me that was the real you last night, the you that can actually compete with the NBA’s better half (and for more than just the first quarter, please!). Don’t make this some beautiful but fleeting one-night stand, designed merely to get my hopes up. Look, I’ve basically given up on the Capitals, and both Fargo and Archer are getting so silly these days I barely have anything to watch on TV anymore. Stay in it for my sake, Washington, will you, please?

Sometimes you want winter to last just a little bit longer.

Wizards’ magic act fading fast

There’s a maxim I’ve asserted for many years and it is this: Ninety percent of sporting events are won by the better team. There’s always a better team, and they win 90 percent of games played, whether on sandlots, parking lots, or national television.

When I look at the 2016-17 Washington Wizards and their counterparts from Boston, I’m sorry to say that thems from Boston are simply the better team. And they’ve shown us as much in the first two games of their series. I’m still holding out hope, of course, as the Wiz now return home (where they have dominated in recent months), but I still remain realistic. This series, again, has me reading baseball scores with greater intent.

The Capitals, though? They’re the better team, and with a win tonight and a brand-new series, who knows how high they’ll inflate my expectations. Probably enough to have me say something stupidly optimistic on this very blog later this week!

Thoughts turn to baseball as they often do

A mere few days ago it seemed as though Washington’s Wizards and Capitals would complete an unprecedented NBA-NHL Championship sweep in their respective leagues. Now I’d be happy to have either team win a game some day this week.

Thank God for the Nationals, those mighty Nationals, who put up 23 runs—yes, 23—in their victory over the New York Mets yesterday afternoon. The Nats finished April five games clear of their closest NL East opponent, thanks in part to a sparkling 10-3 record away from D.C.

Start the drumbeat for the World Series. As usual I’m way too invested already.