Spin the Globe w/ Brian

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Been awhile.  Sorry.  I got stuff to do.  I’d say, “you do too”, but clearly you don’t, as you’re most likely avoiding any actual work by reading this column.  Time spent doing work is a pretty valuable thing, yet you’ve deemed reading this even more valuable, and I appreciate that.  With these lofty expectations in mind, I’ll try to match your demand with some decent supply.

I can usually stomach Colin Cowherd’s radio show for about 10 minutes at a time.  I’m a big fan of talk radio (mostly sports, with a bit of politics mixed in as long as it’s not idiotic), and he tends to be my only option around 12:30-1:00ish, which is usually when I’m heading back to the office from my lunch hour.  When the divorced egomaniac isn’t busy giving life advice or kissing the very ass he verbally kicked three days ago, I love his “Spin the Globe” segments, where he tries to hit most of the relevant sports in season for a few minutes at a time.  It’s quick, intelligent, informative, and easier to digest than a long winded rant.  With this in mind, I’ll try to keep a few of these mixed in during the spots between the full length features.

NFL:  As a fan of neither Super Bowl team, it was an interesting experience from all angles.  First off, I live in one of the cities that is both playing this year, and hosting in 2012 (provided there is no work stoppage).  The Colts were obviously the ‘good guys’ around town…so much so, that I had to remind myself that the rest of the NFL world was solidly behind the Saints.  It’s a pretty obvious thing, but when surrounded by Colts fans, apparel, décor, and info, one does have to take a step back to realize, “wow I kinda forgot, but most of the nation would be upset if the Colts won”.  Nothing profound, but still kinda weird when I bring myself back to the moment this truly struck me.  That said, many Colts fans have taken a little solace in the fact that Drew Brees is a Purdue guy.  Not much, but a little.

I’d also like to make another quick point. In this column, I made the observation that many of the Colts devoted fans were nowhere to be found during the lean years.  When the Colts team plane returned to the airport from Miami following their Super Bowl loss, there were exactly 11 people to greet them. That’s right.  Barely double digits.  I remember living New York when the Syracuse basketball team lost in the national championship game to Kentucky back in 1996.  I don’t recall the headcount to see John Wallace exactly, but I know for damn sure it was more than 11.  Just sayin…

NBA:  Why am I pulling for a lockout?  I wish I wasn’t such a Schadenfreude (definition here. Your old English teacher just snapped awake), but I find myself openly admitting that I really hope this labor dispute isn’t solved by the deadline.  It’s a delicate mixture of several things.  A large percentage of it is that I just flat out don’t like the system.  It honestly feels as though each team makes a trade solely based on the financial ramifications of said deal.  A few teams try to get better, but most know they can’t compete by the deadline, and just try to dump contracts.  ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons wrote a piece on the most valuable players in the league, with the prologue to the rankings turning out to be an excellent overview of why the system doesn’t allow interesting trades anymore.  In a sidebar, he also has a list of the worst contracts in the league.  Teams are stuck with these players for long periods of time, without a hope of ample cap space in sight. This screws teams for years, and makes the league as whole less fun, not to mention the psychological damage of actually rooting for one of these teams.  I know it’s a business, but that’s not what keeps our interest.  If it were, CNBC would have much higher ratings, as most of those guys are much more likeable.  I feel like a lockout may address this type of thing.  That, and it gives hockey a fighting chance to get back on TV.  (Really? You don’t think so? C’mon, hockey’s a great TV sport!)

NHL:  The winter Olympics have begun, and to be honest, the only things I really care about are 1). Hockey and 2). China losing at everything. (I’m sorry, but that government gets caught taking every shortcut they possibly can. CGI fireworks at the Beijing games? 14 year old gymnasts?  It’s the new East Germany).

That said, is there anything better than Olympic hockey?  Too many Olympic “sports” have a clear cut favorite, or are too obscure to have a really wide field of competitors (i.e., women’s hockey).  Men’s hockey is so loaded with talent, and across the board. The US sent a pretty young, under the radar team, but Canada, Sweden, Russia, Finland, etc. are just loaded with NHL stars. It’s just a great 2 week span.

NASCAR:  Still just left turns.  Used to be only guys.  Now just mostly guys.  This is apparently passes for progress.

NCAA hoops : Are we really going to pretend Calipari won’t be caught cheating somehow at Kentucky?  Did I miss the vote we all took on ignoring this?  How can we possibly believe these wins will be around a few years from now?  The guy is a walking violation, and, according to the books, doesn’t even have a final four appearance. (Those have been vacated, Fab Five style).  I’m sure Kentucky fans could care less at this point, but I just don’t know how every sports outlet has conveniently ignored this.  I really wish John Chaney had made good on the promises he made to Calipari back in 1994. (Could you see this today?  We made a big deal out of the fact that Belichick and Eric Mangini once didn’t shake hands after a game.  How great would it be for the rivalry (and the NFL in general) if Belichick told the former prodigy he’d kill him, or kick his ass if they met on the street?  Who wouldn’t want a coach like that?  Hell I kinda want a boss like that).

WWE : Still rampant steroid use.  Still dying at age 43. Still fake.

Something not sports: I try to leave this part at the end, so you folks that don’t care won’t have to see it in the middle, or take the time to scroll past it on your way to the good stuff.

The Bernie Madoff scandal was very well publicized.  With all this publicity, however, we still have people ‘investing’ large sums of money in similar ‘systems’ that guarantee exorbitant returns.  It’s not just actors or athletes, either.  Perfectly informed, educated, financially minded folks are still finding ways to get screwed by people claiming returns too good to be true.  Likewise, people with sleeping disorders (or third shift workers on their night off) tend to fall victim to the late night infomercials about working from home or easy real estate investments.

For any and all reading this, please keep this in mind; There is no magical formula to investing.  If it sounds too good to be true, it always, always is.  If there really was some magical formula, the guy that had it would be using it to get rich, and not trying to sell it to you.  (You know that guy you gamble with that has a ‘system’, but he always seems to need 20 bucks from you?  You don’t?  Maybe I need some new friends). If you do, however, think these ‘investment strategies’ are worth a shot, you’re in luck, as I happen to be  a Nigerian prince that can guarantee untold riches, if you’ll just send your credit card information to blbaker3@gmail.com.

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