All posts by thelongtalk

Picking Your Replacement

Watching your team win it all is something special.  You’ve invested yourself, and even if it didn’t require any physical exertion on your part, you’ve won.

But what happens when your team falls short?  What do you do after that second round elimination or a conference finals choke?  You love the sport and you want to follow its progression, but without someone to root for there’s no tension… no drama.  You need someone or something to hope for, but who?

Here is TheLongTalk’s thoughts on picking a replacement…

- No picking the front runner.
It reeks of band wagon, and there are only a couple of sports smells that are worse.

- Picking the team that beat you IS a possibility.
TheLongTalk knows what you’re thinking… traitor!  But give TLT a moment here to explain the logic.  Your team has lost, they not coming back, you’re going to have to face the ridicule of those whose teams remain in the running, you might as well be able to say – at the end of things – that your guys were taken down by the best.

- You MUST pick against the team that beat you.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, from round 2 till the end.  Pick against the bad guys and stick with it, and if the bad guys keep winning – keep picking against them.  And if they end up winning it all, see above.

- Pick the underdog.
Sort of the opposite of bandwagon, with a dash of Cinderella story mixed in for flavor

Whatever road you take be sure to stay on it until it reaches its natural end… and to remind everyone that there’s always next year for your true team.

Keep on trucking,

Fine with Fantasy

With only a single season of Fantasy Basketball under his belt, TheLongTalk can’t speak with much authority on the topic of Fantasy Sports (FaSp), but why should that stop him.

Love and hate, as words that carry powerful meanings, are too strong for TLT’s feelings.   On their best day, Fantasy Sports are simply there.   They are something that people, other then TheLongTalk, take part in and seem to enjoy.

However the single season spoken of above, in combination with the purchase and subsequent use of NBA Live 2002, did leave TLT with some interesting observations, for instance…

– Tim Thomas seems to rock in NBA Live 2002 for no particular reason
– The NBA season can be interesting, even after the trade deadline and before the playoffs
– When you watch a player and hold his contract in the fantasy realms you pay a lot more attention to him…
– Which means FaSp are an excellent way to learn about players that don’t get a lot of spotlight
– Knowing the players, simply knowing their names, makes watching the real games at least 75% better
– Combining Fantasy Sports with virtual sports and attention to the real thing, makes each of those things that much better

With not much to say,

Reply to a Response

FIRST - The RULE as a rule

Yes, The Mercy Rule (TMR) is indeed a rule and must therefore be enforced by the officials.  I see your point that it is not optional.


The quote “Officials should step in when a game has lost it’s competitive nature and end it at a logical stopping point.” does not reflect the feelings of TLT.  TheLongTalk cares not for The Mercy Rule!

This quote is part of a list of logical steps that TheLongTalk assumes took place during the conception of TMR, probably in some lonely alley behind a liquor store.


TheLongTalk agrees that the Coach involved in #12’s described 100-0 game should probably be asked to hand in his/her whistle.  However, TLT feels as though their is someone who holds even more responsibility for the disgraceful 100-0 game… and that would be the schools Athletic Director.

The Athletic Director that scheduled these two teams to meet either had no idea what he/she was doing or was intentionally planning a blowout.  When one team scores 100 points and the other doesn’t even get 1 – you’ve created a very, very bad match-up.

A good Athletic Director should be planning for competitive games, with the exception perhaps of Homecoming when it’s customary to pick the opponent with the most suckatude in order to provide for the best chance of winage.


TheLongTalk thinks #12 might have missed the point of the post.

The Mercy Rule’s flaw is not its mercy.  Ending a 100 point blowout while it’s only a 65 point blowout might be the best thing for everyone involved, not sure that’s true… but it might be.

But imagine for a moment a Perfect Storm of Stupid Behavior (like the 100-0 game)
– Athletic Director sets up a slaughter
– Coach refuses to pull the team’s best players when the win is assured
– The superior team’s players refuse to hold back or take their foot off the gas
– Officials have no predetermined Mercy Rule so they are powerless to avoid the blowout
– The inferior team has nothing in its makeup to turn this into a real game

Even in this downpour of stupid, TheLongTalk feels as though The Mercy Rule is lacking.  Using TMR in this scenario only stops the bleeding, it doesn’t cure the patient.

Here’s TheLongTalk’s solution – minus TMR
– Athletic Directors should look for good matches
– Coaches should pull their top players when a game has been decided
– Superior players should request removal from the game or should at least take it down to 75% when the score board reads 65-0
– Officials should pull Coaches to the side and suggest that if they do not remove their best players from the game… perhaps fouling out will do the trick!
– The inferior team should keep it’ chin up and readjust… picking a more realistic goal than winning.  Perhaps something like, “Let’s go out there and score 10 points before the end of the 3rd… Team on 3!”

I know this might seem like a perfect world, but in most cases this does happen (on one level or another)  Most teams do not win 100-0 nor do they even come close.  Most times The Mercy Rule isn’t needed… just some real, heartfelt compassion.

With rose colored glasses firmly in place,

The No Mercy Rule

Mercy can be defined as: compassion shown to victims of misfortune, if you accept the authority of Merriam-Webster to define the English language.

And, provided you extend that authority to TheLongTalk, the players and fans of Angola’s National Basketball Team can clearly be defined as “victims of misfortune,” given their resent 55 point drumming (121-66) at the hands of Team USA.

Historically this game isn’t even Angola’s worst Team USA beat down.  In 1992 The Dream Team dismantled Angola, winning by 68 points, and iced the cake with the super classy Charles Barkley suggesting he feared possible payback in the form of spear attack.

Now speaking from a position of experience, TheLongTalk having been on the receiving end of a basketball thumping (40-4) during his middle school days… a thumping wherein TheLongTalk was the only member of his team to score… and even then only from the foul line… getting smacked down sucks.  It sucks real bad.

A lopsided loss leaves everyone, even the winners, with a sour taste in their mouths.  Losers feel humiliated, winners feel like bullies, and fans feel like they’ve wasted their precious time.

And so from this sour taste was born the great sports equalizer… The Mercy Rule (TMR).  Now you won’t come across TMR if your sports experience is limited to the professional level, in the pros there is no mercy… nor should there be, but if you’ve ever watched a mismatched Little League game end at 5 innings then you’ve seen The Mercy Rule in action.

The underlying theory of TMR appears to be…

1. Children cannot handle the shame that goes hand-in-hand with getting it handed to them on the field of play

2. Adults must protect said children from the horrifying disgrace of losing

3. Officials should step in when a game has lost its competitive nature and end it at a logical stopping point…  after the third quarter or 5th inning, etc.

4. This will result in a better sports world for everyone

TheLongTalk will admit that it is pretty hard to argue the logic of TMR when that sour taste is still on your tongue or when you’ve just avoided an embarrassing experience.  At these moments The Mercy Rule seems like your best friend… and maybe it is.

But TheLongTalk cares not for The Mercy Rule!!!

If you’ll jump quickly back to the top of this little rant you’ll see that mercy involves compassion, which itself can be defined as:  a sympathetic feeling.  This means that in order for there to be mercy there must be sympathy.

TMR knows no sympathy, TMR is not about compassion… The Mercy Rule is a system put in place to save face and to minimize hurt feelings.

Now let me make myself clear on this point… TheLongTalk has no problem with avoiding hurt feelings or minimizing face lossage… TheLongTalk is cool with mercy, it’s the rule part that chafes him.

When we make mercy a rule it is robbed of its compassion and left empty, shallow, and pathetic.  By the time an official is forced to use The Mercy Rule the opportunity for true mercy has already been missed.

The answer to the sour taste isn’t forced mercy… it’s real compassion.

When a coach benches his starters because he’s up by 20, that’s real compassion.  When players in the game self regulate with an impromptu “no fast breaks” rule, that’s real sympathy.  When a team realizes that it is within their power to destroy and humiliate their opponent but chooses not to, of their own accord, that’s real mercy.

And don’t think that players can’t tell the difference.  The children that TMR is meant to protect know when their being pitied, when their being felt sorry for.  They know when the mercy isn’t real… and it’s worse.  To know that you’ve not only been beaten, but that the game had to be ended early because your team is so pathetic you couldn’t make a sporting match of it.

Fake mercy helps no one and teaches nothing of value.  Losing teams learn only that when it’s clear you can no longer win.. you should call it a day… and winning teams are given a pass on lessons involving empathy… their responsibility for sportsmanlike conduct is simply passed on to the officials.

TheLongTalk says no to The Mercy Rule, even if that means more double digit disgraces, and YES to a sports system that promotes empathy and good sportsmanship that come from within.

With many grammatical errors,

Why Sports Matter

Why do we spend our time watching other people play games? Why do we spend our money on T-shirts, tickets, and trinkets? Why do sports matter?

In the grand scheme of things, they don’t.  We humans only need a few things; air, water, food, shelter, and to reproduce, in roughly that order, everything else is icing.  But sports… oh sports are such delicious icing.

We make sports matter by saying that they do.  Ask someone who doesn’t care about baseball, that would be me, who won the World Series in 1972 and you’ll get something like this, “uhm…urgh…ahhh…The Mets?” So if a person doesn’t think a certain sport matters, then to them, it doesn’t.  Simple really.

So why do the sports that I say matter, mostly basketball, matter to me?

Because of the unpredictable nature, the unknown outcome.  Because of my knowledge of the rules and the players involved, I tend to dislike games played by people I don’t know and with rules I can’t understand.  (Sorry cricket, maybe if I got to know you…)

Because of the thrill of seeing something new, Ron Artest as the hero of Game 7… that’s sort of new.  Because of the connection to my fellow fans.  Because of the fun of competition and the joy of the win, on the rare occasion that I do win.

All these reasons and the fact that chicks dig athletes.

With deepest wishes of well,