Sunday, March 26, 2006

The return of Denny Crane! Or Paul Allen-I can't tell the difference

Some updated numbers from the NCAA Tourney down below. Amazing how despite the fact that we hype "March Madness" all the time, it really isn't all that crazy in terms of upsets and low seeded teams actually playing for a title, until this year. More on that below...

But first... "our" team here in Portland:

The Blazers were shooting below 20% after one quarter, and about 25% through three quarters on the way to getting blown out at home again. Don't let the 34 point fourth quarter fool you, they were horrible again tonight, outside of the inspired second half play of Travis Outlaw, last seen diving for a ball with just seconds to go in the fourth (which drew Nate off the bench who applauded the effort). Matell Webster and Jarrett Jack also seemed to give it their best, but that wasn't the story tonight.

The real story is Paul Allen returned to the Rose Garden.

Multiple Blazer employees stated that it was the buzz of the building and they were suprised to hear prior to the game he was coming back. No one expected to see him sitting in his baseline seats for the remainder of the season, but back he was Sunday night.

But the real fun began outside the Blazer locker room when a half dozen or so media members, me included, had a chance to finally speak to the owner of this team who, in case you haven't heard, needs "a better lease" and is working with "a broken financial model."

The following is a little taste of the conversation. The answers are not direct and complete quotes, check the Trib and Oregonian for more specific quotes, but I believe all of the questions that were answered came from Kerry Eggers (Portland Tribune), Dwight Jaynes (Portland Tribune), Jason Quick (Oregonian) and (third person here) Ian Furness (1080 The Fan).

Q: (J. Quick) Do you see yourself owning the team next year?
A: That is uncertain/undecided.

Q (mine, so obviously a solid question): Is there a any possibility the team could be moved or relocate at some point?
A: Everything is a possibility, but as I have said before, I think that would be real sad for the people here, but the reality is the financial model is broken, it is maybe the worst lease and financial model in sports, but I really don't know (if the team can or would move).

Q: from Dwight Jaynes.... "but Paul, you signed the lease, why don't you know?
A: Ahh..... There are three sides here, it isn't just us or me, and uh... (the following is the exact quotes, but it went something like this...... "bad lease, bad lease, and uhhh, bad lease.. broken financial model, broken financial model...." (*then Steve Patterson says something under his breath-which he did consistently when most questions were asked during the interview-Dwight to his credit says "Steve I am asking Paul" and Patterson replies with the statement "it is a free country" when Dwight asks to hear what Allen has to say. Solid, entertaining stuff, and a reason I have a ton of respect for Dwight Jaynes-the way he handled the situation was that of a true pro. The way the other guy handled it was immature and petty.)

Q: (again, from Ian Furness, 1080 The FAN): Is the only way to fix the situation with a new lease?
A: I don't know, but whoever owns the team has to have a better lease situation. The financial model is broken. (really? But do you need a better lease and is the financial model broken?).

There is more, but you get the idea. Much like the characted that William Shatner plays in Boston Legal-Denny Crane-anytime Denny gets lost, he fires off a strong "Denny Crane." Whenever Paul Allen is at a loss, he just fires off the standard "Bad lease, broken financial model" and then moves on.

So where to go from here? That was asked as well. Allen tried to throw the Bondholders/Noteholders under the bus by saying "have you guys heard from them?" but the reality is he took that group to bankruptcy court, which cost them millions of dollars, the lease was signed by Paul Allen, and really, why WOULD they have anything to say? They own the building, the lease doesn't allow the team to move, so what are they supposed to say or do? Maybe come back and say "Hey Paul, you tried to re-work your deal by taking us to court, and it cost us a ton of money, but yeah, what the heck, lets give you a better deal." Ahh.... NO!

More on this situation on Primetime Monday 3-7.

It truly is March Madness this year
For those of you who like a little "juice" with your games...
*All four underdogs in the Elite Eight won their games outright.*Since the NCAA Tournament began seeding teams in 1979, this will be only the second time none of the four No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four.
*This year's Final Four seeds are 2nd (UCLA), 3rd (Florida), 4th (LSU) and 11th (George Mason). The other time there wasn’t a number one seed in the Final Four was in 1980- the Final Four seeds that year were 2nd, 5th, 6th and 8th.
*Through the elite eight, higher seeds are 30-20 outright and 27-30-3 against the Las Vegas point spread. Las Vegas favorites are 43-18 outright and 27-31-3 against the spread (including the play-in game).
*What does all of this mean? Simple: the guy who is winning your office pool probably doesn’t know the difference between Lamar Butler and Mitchell Butler, or a Big Daddy or Big Baby.
What does the regular season in college basketball really mean?
*Apparently, not much, as the Big East with two number one seeds, and a record eight bids, is out.
*The Big Ten couldn’t get a team past the second round.
*And if the voters had their way, and the tourney invites were based on the Top 25, George Mason wouldn’t be there.
*Even more mind boggling is the fact that of the 31 head coaches in Division One basketball who vote in the Top 25, not one voted for George Mason in the Top 25. The same is true for the AP Poll-in fact some teams who did get Top 25 votes include: Montana, Cincinnati (NIT), Missouri State and Winthrop.