With the CWS finally over, I went to Kansas City's win over the White Sox last night. Kaufman Stadium is a terrific place to see a game. It's got fans who love the sport, the fountains are even cooler in person than they look on TV, and the between innings "entertainment" isn't incredibly loud and annoying like it is at some parks. Unfortunately everything there is focused on looking back at the good times rather than being competitive right now. They gave us a copy of game 5 of the 1985 World Series on DVD as we entered the stadium, and the team shop had more shirts of former Royals - George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, Bo Jackson, Willie Wilson and many more - than it did of anyone current other than Zack Greinke. There's no reason the Royals couldn't duplicate what's gone on in Tampa Bay, but they continue to draft players not based on ability but rather on signability. It's a shame - their fans deserve better. We ate beforehand at Oklahoma Joe's, which turns out to be able to back up its hype as a terrific barbecue establishment. KC is not likely to be your next vacation destination, but it's an underrated city. It does have one of the weirder airports you'll ever encounter, which is where I'll be early today making my way back to Columbia and some semblance of normalcy again.
NBA free agent mania commenced at midnight, and the best part of all of this is that I won't have to hear any more inane speculation about it soon. If, as has been claimed in New York, the Knicks top priority is signing Joe Johnson then the entire decision making structure of the organization should be fired immediately. Johnson is a useful player, but he's demonstrated beyond any doubt he is not the lead figure of a championship contending team. You don't tank seasons for two years to go after Joe Johnson. There are several free agents other than LeBron James who are genuine difference makers, but Johnson's not one of them.
Tommy Tuberville hasn't coached a game at Texas Tech yet, but he's already stirring people up with his comments about the Big 12 minus 2. The conference has been trying to convince people it's going to be just fine as a ten team league going forward, with a supposed "ten year commitment" letter being drawn up and schools like Iowa State signing it (as if anyone wanted them). Tuberville didn't mince words, saying the revenue and power disparity everyone else has with Texas and to a lesser extent Oklahoma and Texas A&M will eventually wreck the league. He's probably right, although it's hard to see what would cause the collapse right now. OU and TAMU had SEC opportunities but didn't pull the trigger. No one's really excited about adding any of the other seven teams, and Texas is happy as long as the new TV deals generate the revenue the Big 12 commissioner claimed they would.
I've been in a college baseball bubble, so I don't know if a disclosure from Sean Payton's new book that I read about a few days ago got any real attention or not. Most of the story focuses on the book's revelations about how the Saints won last season's Super Bowl, but a brief mention is given to Payton's interview with Al Davis for the Raiders head coaching job seven years ago. Their menu? McDonald's hamburgers and KFC cole slaw. If that's what Al thinks is the good stuff to break out for a potential head coach, what does he eat when he's not looking to make a positive impression? Asbestos on crackers? Ten slim Jims a day? No wonder the guy looks like he's been dead for ten years.