Let me be the first to appeal to the NBA to shorten NBA games to three quarters. That 4th quarter just seems…too long. In the Raptors case, it seems like a mountain. It’s hard to understand how different versions of this team have all struggled to finish games over the past five years. It used to be the 3rd quarter was a problem but it has become the fourth. I know a young team needs to learn how to keep the pedal on the gas but come on. Last night they dominated the Hawks for 36 minutes, leading 86-71 going into the 4th. The Hawks should never have sniffed 100 points but they ended up scoring 102. Fortunately, the Raps pushed at the end and scored 109 but it was a four point game late in the 4th. I know it’s the first game of the season and I am confident that Casey will get these guys going but I think Lowry had 3 more points than I did in the 4th and I was watching on my couch. It was nice to start the Raptors 20th season with a win (remember where you were for their first game on Nov 3, 1995?) and it was nice of Drake to keep his lint brush in his pocket.
Kevin Seitzer has left the Jays to apparently join the Atlanta Braves as hitting coach. Normally this would be no big deal but they are now going to hire their fourth hitting coach in four years. Call me crazy but isn’t it odd that Gibby brings his old buddy Seitzer in and he only lasts one season? Dwayne Murphy was the hitting coach from 2010-2012 and all he did was help Jose Bautista and Eddy Encarnacion become the best 3-4 combo in baseball. Gibby decided to bring in Chad Mottola in 2013 and move Murphy to 1st base and then got rid of both of them after the 2013 season. Say what you will about how much a hitting coach actually helps but Murphy was a pupil of Cito and the “swing aggressive at something you like” mentality. Mottola was the opposite with the “wait and see” mentality (which surprisingly got the Jays from 13th to 9th in Team Batting Average) and Seitzer seemed to be somewhere in the middle and it worked because the Jays were 5th in MLB for Team Average in 2014. The young hitters on the team need consistency in theories and right now if they are not getting it, they could have a tough go. I loved the report about the Jays originally being interested in former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. Why not you ask? The Yankees were 20th in Team Batting this past season. Thankfully the Mets stepped in and signed him as their hitting coach to get them up from 22nd place. God Bless those Mets.
I hope Randy Carlyle sent a flower basket to Tim Murray on Wednesday morning. The GM of the Sabres has assembled a young team that is not quite ready for primetime and the Leafs took full advantage on Tuesday in a convincing 4-0 win. I say convincing because the Sabres did their best impression of the Leafs this season: forget to shoot at the net. The Sabres had a grand total of 12 shots on net against Bernier (again, 12 more than I had…okay I’ll find a new joke) and although the game was a grinder at 0-0 at the start of the 2nd, it didn’t take long for the youngsters to make enough mistakes to allow the Leafs to take over. So, Carlyle is safe for now (because obviously the play of this team is all his fault) and we can resume planning the parade route…for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Leafs last cup which is coming in 2017 (see you there!).
Until next time…