There is an expression which goes: No cheering in the press box.
I must admit that I felt like cheering Saturday after Concord finally broke through in the win column against West Virginia Wesleyan, but didn’t. Instead, I found myself trying to figure out how I should feel because I had spent so many Saturday afternoons witnessing Concord losses this fall. I guess the best way to sum it up is that I’m glad Concord won.
A much better expressed victory celebration was the one in Washington, D.C. this past weekend as the Washington Nationals, a real team of destiny, celebrated the city’s first baseball title since 1924. That’s 85 years and three franchises worth of baseball, with a few years of interruption between the second Washington Senators’ departure for the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area and the arrival of the former Montreal Expos in D.C.
This was the first World Series that had the winning team in each game be the road team, a possibility only because the series went seven games. The Nationals won because of their strong starting pitching, especially Steven Strasburg in games two and six and enough hitting to get by.
I’m happy for the team and for the fans of the team, some of whom are family members. I’m happy for the area, which has been in a sports slump with the Redskins and Wizards on treadmills of staleness for seeming decades. I guess I should credit the WNBA’s Washington Mystics as well. By the way, the reason the Mystics didn’t have a victory parade is that the players had to report to their European teams or other jobs right away.
As for the NBA, I want to look at the Northwest Division, starting with the Utah Jazz. The Jazz traded for veteran point guard Mike Conley, Jr. to complement drafted stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. They are a team of complimentary role players which plays solid defense.
I have to admit that it was hard choosing between the Jazz and the Denver Nuggets for first. I picked the former based on having three front-line stars to the Nuggets’ two: Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Should Michael Porter, Jr. play up to his lottery pick status, it’ll be a battle to the end for the division lead.
While the Portland Trail Blazers made it to the Western Conference Finals last spring, they are a scoring front courter away from a repeat run. They made, along with Denver, the fewest big moves among WC contenders, which makes me think that they are going to be active in mid-season trading.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a young star in center Karl-Anthony Towns, but not that much to help him. Andrew Wiggins isn’t quite getting the job done, although he’d look better on a better team with a more defined role. They need to upgrade at point guard as well.
Finally, we come to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are rebuilding from the ground floor. The trades of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, along with the likelihood of a Chris Paul swap, did give them a truckload of draft picks, most of\which look to be future lottery picks.
Contact Jeff Harvey at email@example.com