December 04, 2008

Deep Thoughts Vol. 15: Dark Days

It's been a rough 48 hours in Toronto; my city, and my home. Teams are losing, owners are dying, hard-working people are getting laid off, and coaches are getting fired. Me? I blame the economy.

Farewell SMitch

Bryan Colangelo finally dropped the hammer. You know, no word of a lie, I woke up Wednesday morning knowing that Mitchell was in the final hours of his tenure as lead Raptor. After Tuesday night's epic fail, the writing was on the proverbial wall.

This one falls into the "You can't fire the players so you've got to fire the coach" category, period. Colangelo had to do something, especially after the Denver Nuggets ran roughshod all over his team. That might have been the most embarrassing 48 minutes in Toronto basketball history.

There are a lot of people in Toronto who are happy today, and celebrating Mitchell's departure. I read a lot of shit on Facebook last night - "Good riddance Uncle Sam," "This is where I become a Raptors fan," "Finally! I can start cheering for the Raps again!" - and to these people I say: you're an idiot, your anger and frustration is aimed at the wrong person.

Bryan Colangelo is the one to blame. Yes, the same Bryan Colangelo whom I have perfomed verbal fellatio on many times in this very space. Like I said, the honeymoon is over. 

Just look at the Toronto roster. Even with Chris Bosh playing like a man possessed, Jose Calderon playing like, well, Jose Calderon, and Andrea Bargnani playing decent ball, the team still stinks. The worry about Colangelo's prized off-season possession Jermain O'Neal was that he can't stay healthy and, surprise surprise, he can't. And the problem on the wing has been evident since opening night.

Not even Red Auerbach himself could get the Raptors to meet the lofty, yet extremely unrealistic, expectations that have been placed on them. 

Coaching, in my humble opinion, can only go so far. The Raptors plain and simple can't defend. The team is allowing more than 100 points a game, and I don't think that's because of Mitchell's defensive schemes. Sam isn't the one out on the court falling for every single God damn pump fake.

Is Jay Triano the answer? I love him, but only to the Jeapordy question "Who was the first Canadian head coach of an NBA team?"

On an aside, anyone else kind of miss T.J. Ford, and 48 minutes of glorious point guard play? I do. Largely because Will Soloman is the devil.

I'm going to miss Sam. I'll miss his personality, his candor. He was good people. It's unfortunate the SMitch era had to come to an end this way, and that Raptors fans are taking petty parting shots at him as he leaves town. They don't speak for all of us, Sam.

And I would also like to point out that, for the record, the fellas over at The Passion That Frustrates Us All saw SMitch's firing coming from a mile away. Bastards.

Man, that 2007 division title feels like it was 10 years ago, doesn't it?

R.I.P. Mr. Rogers

Toronto Blue Jays owner, Ted Rogers, had his contract expire early Tuesday morning. He was 75 years old. May the media mogul rest in peace. 

Uncle Teddy was a shrewd businessman, and God knows his family is well taken care of. I mean, have you ever stopped to think how much money Rogers Wireless makes just off the mysterious System Access Fee?

In all seriousness, there were times years ago when the fate of the Blue Jays was in question. Were it not for Rogers and his deep pockets, this city could very well have lost its baseball team. So, thank you, Uncle Ted. May the family name continue to prosper.

Holiday Cheer

Hours after the team's owner checked out for the afterlife, the Blue Jays showed 24 front-office employees the door. Yes, the Christmas spirit is alive and well down at the Rogers Centre. Make sure to swing by the Cable Box when you're out singing Oh Holy Night.

Fucking economy. I'm scared.

"They Are Who We Thought They Were!"

Really, is there a more apt quote than that from Dennis Green about the San Jose Sharks? That's one sexy hockey team. I won't lie, I fantasized about them last night.


woodpeck said...

too early for Teddy. too late for Sam/Bryan. here's to hoping you don't have Coyote dreams 2nite!

Bhattorious said...

I liked Smitch, i liked listening to the FAN 590 on Wednesday at 8:10am cause i knew i would get a's all over, and to be honest, i think Smitch would still be here is Calderon could play defence....he can't, Calderon has let the point guards on other teams just expose him and when that happens the other teams point guards have way too many options which lead to easy baskets.....Calderon should be looking in he mirror...i hope this type of defensive play does not continue until his contract year...i have said what i have to say.....and Smitch, if your reading this, i'm gonna miss you man....

Bhattorious said...

Oh, and about our beloved Ted, i met him once but never spoke to him, and listening to the radio it seems like he will be missed. Even though i am still giving him a good chunk of my paycheck on a monthky basis.....I hope you were good Teddy, cause money can't but heaven.

JT said...

It really is a shame about Mitchell. I suppose something had to be done, but like you said, it's not necessarily his fault that his roster is limited defensively.

And forget defensively, does anyone else on this team other than Bosh, and perhaps Calderon, even scare teams offensively?

richie said...

I agree with everything you said about Smitch dude. Mitchell was a good man. Probably the second best coach ever after Butch Carter. (I loved that guy, I only wish he hadn't had a mental breakdown mid-season)

To try to put a bit of a positive spin on things though - I mean - c'mon, Smitch did get severely outcoached the last two trips to the playoffs by Lawrence Frank and Ron Jeremy. Maybe he was never the right guy for that "next step."

Fantasizing about the Sharks? Nah. They'll crumble.

Anonymous said...

SMitch wasn't the greatest coach. He, however does not deserve the sole blame for this team. Colangelo deserves a bunch of it and the players deserve the most. The players really need to look at them selves in the mirror. They just got their coach fired. And Brian, you're amazing, BUT, this just is not that talented of a team. Our PG situation is BRUTAL, and our Wings just are not of the starting caliber. This team is at best a 5th or 6th place team in the East.

So long SMitch.

Fermat said...

I liked Sam. He's better than a bunch of coaches out there so I'm sure he'll land somewhere. He did an admirable job of developing younger players but I just never felt he had the wits to take the Raptors to the next level, regardless of personnel. I'll argue that forever.

Ian H. said...

Navin, are you going to do an Avery post? I'm curious as to your thoughts on the whole situation.

fantasybaseballmacbookpro said...

"whom I have perfomed verbal fellatio on many times"


Billy Bee Absentee said...

Hey Eyebleaf, hit up the Passion blog. There is no one person at fault. The way the Raptors are playing is the fault of the players, the coaches, and management. However, the honeymoon is not over. As a city we MUST have unwavering support for the GM. Before BC got here, we were in the wilderness, so let's just be grateful that he is running the Raps, and he is the type of leader that will fix his mistakes. Keep the faith, brighter days are ahead for the Raps.

Escaped Lab Rat said...

Perhaps Sam's biggest contribution was riding Bosh hard all the time--he deserves at least a little credit for how good CB4 is today. Sam wasn't the greatest coach but he was ultimately a good guy who had passion and a sense of humour, he'll be missed but we'll move on.

Man, the Jays aren't going to have a good off-season, are they?

eyebleaf said...

@ Woodpeck: It looks like I will be fantasizing about the Coyotes tonight. The God damn Leafs suck, and I MOTHER FUCKING HATE Ron Wilson. He absolutely embarrassed my boy Tommy Kaberle tonight. Bastard.

@ Bhatti Boy: Calderon's D is pretty brutal. Not much else you can say about it. I think we'll all miss Smitch's tendency to just keep it real. And, bro, you're wrong, money can buy heaven. Teddy's chilling up there right now. Damn system access fee!

@ JT: I think Kapono, Bargnani and AP kind of scare opponents, in certain situations. But the problems, I think, all stem from the defensive end. It's way too easy to score on the Raptors. I think I could use a pump fake to get by J-Moon, and I'm a chucker like Costanza

@ Richie: +10 for the Ron Jeremy reference. They seriously do look alike.

@ 25th: I think if this team can get into the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed, Triano deserves a medal.

@ Fermat: With the right roster, I can take an NBA team to the next level. This is about personnel, not Sam's coaching ability, and I will argue that forever.

@ Ian: Oh, an Avery post is in the cards, I'm just waiting for the length of his suspension to drop. Pure "sloppy seconds."

@ Fantasy: It's true. I have performed verbal fellatio on Bryan Colangelo. I can admit it. But those days are over!

@ Billy Bee: I hit up the Passion, daily. And don't get me wrong, bro. I still support BC. The man has proven himself. But now it's all about results. And, trust me, I am grateful he is running the Raps. I mean, he replaced Rob BabCOCK. Who could not be grateful?

@ Escaped: I will def. give Sam props for the growth in Bosh's game. No one can deny that. And, yes, we will move on, but it's without a heavy heart. At least for a few days. And no, the Jays are not going to have a good off-season. It's going to be a long winter, brother.