Sacramento's last stand

March 27, 2013, 7:15 am
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To the surprise of exactly zero people, the Sacramento City Council last night voted almost as one to approve a new arena plan that would, they hope, convince the NBA owners to reject Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen and keep the Kings in their town.

But therein lies the problem. Sacramento’s late flurry of activity – find two big-money investors, then find a third, then recruit a fourth, and now find city money for the arena it couldn’t get together until the clock was at 0:00.7 – doesn’t solve the one hurdle that it cannot solve.

Namely, convincing the owners to turn down the larger TV market, the offer the current owners have already accepted, and the fact that Ballmer alone is worth more than all the Sacramento investors combined.

Sacramento is trying to use the possession-is-nine-tenths-of-the-law-and-David-Stern-loves-us argument to make its case, but Stern has been less than full-throated in his defense of the status quo – maybe because five teams have moved in his time as commissioner, and maybe because he is a short-timer himself.

In addition, a new set of owners have become the league’s power brokers, and they will have to be convinced that interfering with an owner’s prerogative to sell to whom he wishes is a worthwhile precedent to set here. They may not like the Dancing Maloofs (though we have no indication that they care one way or another), but they have no compelling reason to put Sacramento’s desires before a member of the fraternity.

In short, Sacramento has pretty much done all it can, save three things – ruin Seattle’s advantages in market size, owner wealth and arena plan. Do that, and you’ll have an argument in the April owners vote.


The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Philadelphia Phillies’ AAA affiliate, are introducing interactive urinal gaming systems to Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. Yes, it’s what you think – you play while you pee, with the stream dictating the way the game is played.

And then, you get into fistfights with the guy next to you when you decide to wave a runner home in the game’s chosen idiom. Or the guy behind you when you tilt the machine and stand for five minutes waiting for the urinal to reboot. Or the line that forms when you want to play a second game and have to drink a 32-ounce beer in front of the urinal so that you can . . . uh, reboot.

In other words, this is an idea whose time has come, and will pass when the first lawyer drops the first piece of lawsuit paperwork on the ballclub. Enjoy it while you can, uro-sports enthusiasts.


Tiger Woods’ new Nike ad, which carries the message “Winning takes care of everything,” has come under fire for trivializing his one-waitress-at-a-time brush with disaster a few years ago, but reality demands that this be said:

If he wins The Masters, the ad will be right, and the reason why is because all the people complaining about the ad now will fawn over him like he was Jennifer Lawrence delivering a free pizza. Object all you want, but the first lesson of American culture is that very slogan. We forgive a lot in exchange for our entertainment, because we value our entertainment just that much. And everything else that much less.


My, but there are a lot of media people who can tough through an assignment but get all puddly and slack-spined when it comes to the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team. The 0-0 draw with Mexico was a good result because in World Cup qualifying, a point away from home is a good thing, and a bad game because Mexico carried the play for the evening without carrying it effectively. The U.S. needs to be better – but for one night, good enough was, well, good enough.

Just stop acting like it was a triumph for the ages, please. It was a useful scoreless draw, and that's all it was.


Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly’s Spotify has a song on it from Train called, “50 Ways To Say Goodbye,” a tune about a guy who has a bad breakup with a girl, but rather than just tell his friends he got dumped made up a bunch of different ways in which the girl died.

Then again, Manti Te’o and his unsatisfying 40 times are no longer Kelly’s problem, so whether you want to call it irony or just a weird social commentary, it is a left-handed goodbye from the head coach to his most famous pupil. In other words, this is why fiction is dead. You honestly cannot ever make the real stuff up.


And finally, here’s to Baylor’s Brittney Griner, who went for 33 with 22 rebounds and three dunks in the Bears’ 85-47 win over Florida State in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament. Griner even thoughtfully tweeted at halftime that she needed two more dunks to salute the crowd at her last home game.

I’m sure the NCAA will decide there is some rules violation in there somewhere. Maybe an impermissible benefit for the fans, or felony TweetDeck.