Parasiliti: Good drama is only a time, place away
Bob Parasiliti (Joe Crocetta / April 15, 2012)
It’s either right place, wrong time or right place, right time.
In sports, one of those two criteria arise to create great stories.
(Oh yeah, we’ll throw in a third category. That’s when ESPN picks up on a story and pounds it into the ground.)
Last week, there was an uproar over Gregg Popovich’s decision to send the San Antonio Spurs’ top players home to rest instead of playing on the road against the Miami Heat.
NBA commissioner David Stern was appalled over the decision, even though the Spurs — using a short bench and players considered second string — only lost by five points. Thus San Antonio received a hefty fine basically because Popovich’s decision wasn’t considered to be in the best interests of the league.
Miami has a sliding scale of ticket prices, based on the team’s opponent. The Spurs, with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the cast, were top shelf. Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards are a two-for-one deal, including dinner and drinks.
The commish was more upset about the “disservice to the league and our fans,” than the game. The game was marketed as a marquee matchup, but the move diminished the value of the ticket.
OK, I understand that, but when fans buy tickets there are risks.
Ask the Baltimore Ravens fans who haven’t been able to see Ray Lewis play for most of the season. He’s injured, but fans bought tickets to see him play. There might even be a couple of people who have paid for the right to see Tim Tebow take a knee in New York and haven’t been rewarded.
Would it have been any different if the Spurs brought the players and sat them all on the bench for the entire game? Then, at least, they would be DNP (did not play), coach’s decision next to their names in the boxscore.
The move was rest and gamesmanship in one swift decision … and there was the drama to it all. Popovich was in the right place at the wrong (or right) time (depending on your opinion).
Now, coaches are being told how they should manage their teams.
Rumor has it that Herald-Mail Sports Editor Mark Keller is being fined for allowing me to have a week off because the paper was being published without his “first string.”
Mark’s off the hook, though, because many readers have sent in contributions to pay the fine, thanking him for his decision.
But think about how many instances have been influenced by the right/wrong criteria.
How about success of the Washington Nationals after promoting 19-year-old Bryce Harper to the roster?
Or the Nationals’ postseason demise after ending star pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s season a month early?
Then there is Maryland football coach Randy Edsall, who entered the 2012 season with a prewarmed hot seat after a 2-10 record the year before. The Terrapins won four of their first six games — cooling the temperature — but then lost the last five games after the team lost its second, third and fourth quarterbacks to season-ending injuries.
That’s right and wrong time, all wrapped into one.
If Edsall needs any solace, take a look at a guy named David Walker in Martinsburg. The charcoal was being prepared to burn the Bulldogs’ football coach after going 1-9 in 1997, his first season at the school.
Since then he has moved the team into seven state finals and wins in the last three West Virginia Class AAA title games.
Wrong time switched to right times.
Sports, on every level, have that kind of drama to keep things interesting.
And we, as sports fans, always seem to be in the right place, right time to enjoy it.
Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at email@example.com.