NBA’s ridiculous playoff scheduling screws Nuggets fans

A few weeks ago I received an email from the Denver Nuggets’ mailing list, promoting a play-off ticket presale.  I was pretty stoked that there were tickets as cheap as $12 and plentiful at $28.  I sent a round of email to a group of friends and bought up 7 playoff tickets for Game 4 of the first round.

The tickets have arrived and after the Nuggets upset the Spurs this evening, I should be excited about going to the game.  However, a week out from game 4 I’m sitting here worried and pissed off at the NBA and their scheduling honks.

If you go over to the NBA scheduling page, you’ll see that all of the Game 4’s have been assigned a date and time – except for the Nuggets/Spurs and Wizards/Cav’s.  The NBA was gracious enough to schedule the game on a Monday – but yet still doesn’t have the time posted. It’s obvious they’re hedging their bets to see which series appears more competitive and will get them their prime time slots.  I understand how TV ratings work and realize they have business decisions to make – but could the NBA be any more disrespectful to their hard-working fans who have bought tickets to the game?

Personally, putting it on a Monday night complicates matters for my friends and me.  We’re trying to coordinate work and class schedules, and there are some people who simply cannot be there at the 6pm start time (the start time for the other games).  I’m not arrogant enough to expect the NBA to conform to me needs – but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to give you the freaking game time a week prior to the event.  I could cut them some slack if this was game 5-7 (those “if necessary” games), but give me a break, this game is set in stone – supposedly.

If the time doesn’t work, that’s fine – but give us time to be able to get rid of these tickets if we need to.  If I have to flush even one ticket down the toilet… that’s too much.  The NBA is arrogant enough to think every game warrants national TV coverage, resulting in 3-4 day gaps in between games.  Game 1 of the Nuggets/Spurs was Sunday, and Game 3 will take place almost a week later – for a 7-game series?!?  The length of the playoffs is just an absurd publicity grab.

None of the other major sports leagues screw their home fans during their playoffs as much as the NBA.  The NFL gets national TV coverage, but there are only 12 teams (and 4 games played in each round), and they take place on a weekend.  Major League Baseball – for it’s many faults, concedes that their first few rounds do not warrant prime-time coverage and play the games during the day.  At least they communicate dates and times to their fans.

I really want to like basketball and the NBA, but their general disrespect to the fans in their arenas make it very difficult to like these teams.

A day of grief at Virginia Tech

Obviously the news dominating Monday’s headlines was of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.  I think at times like these it’s only natural to be without words, to be in a state of shock and disbelief  – and ultimately be grieving the loss suffered by those students and the families affected.

Today was definitely a sad day, and I really struggled with all of the coverage that immediately surrounded this story.  My immediate reaction was that of shock, and although I do not understand what those close to the attack are going through – I know it’s natural to experience emotions tied with grief.  However, it’s sad that the need for us to understand and intellectually explain the situation, coupled with the 24/7 sensationalist news media culture is already giving way for those to needlessly pile onto this situation.

Not long after I received the news on the Internet I saw “campaignist” Jack Thompson was already blaming violent video games as the cause of this tragedy.  That’s interesting, considering that the killer’s name hasn’t been released to the public yet.  I guess that doesn’t stop someone like this guy from using the victim’s death to promote his own agenda – what a disgrace.  As I’m driving home, I’m listening to talk radio here in Denver and they’re offering the same sentiments, blaming video games and violent movies for this tragedy. I go to the gym and while I’m listening to ESPN’s PTI, Kornheiser and Wilbon are blaming the accessibility to guns as an enabler to what happened.  On the way home they cut to a press conference where the media is climbing over each other to ask critical questions, wanting the gory details. When the police chief was asked if he could describe the scene, and he simply said “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”  The reporter had the thoughtlessness to respond, “So you’re not going to describe it for us?” – all to get the “inside scoop”.

The above may be valid points, but do we really need to begin the analysis immediately after the tragedy?  To make these kind of accusations without any meaningful information regarding the case is not only irresponsible, but dangerous.  What make things worse, is that personal agendas begin to lace this tragedy, and they’re basically capitalizing on the victims. 

I know there’s a time and place to get the facts, analyze the circumstances and draw conclusions as to how we can prevent this, but save that for tomorrow – today is not that day.  Today is a day to step back and grieve the fact that evil exists in this world, reflect on our own blessings, and offer prayers and support for those who suffered loss.

A Jaiku exodus? What a bunch of twits!

Something happened this weekend in the tech community that leaves me scratching my head and wondering where maturity and professionalism have gone.

Over the last several weeks I’ve been addicted to Twitter, the latest craze in “mini-blogging”, where you basically tell people what you’re doing at that moment.  I like it because it’s easy, convenient and fun to see what everyone’s doing.  Although I heard about it months ago from Paul Boag and his web design podcast, it really took off these last few weeks and has spread throughout the tech community.  A driving part of the popularity was that it was featured on many podcasts, including This Week in Tech or (TWiT).  Leo Laporte, the host of TWiT joined the craze a few weeks back and quickly rose to become the most followed person on Twitter.  He made multiple posts each day and was an active part in the community – up until Friday.

In a sudden change in reversal, Leo didn’t want to play on Twitter anymore, took his ball and went home. Why?  It’s what’s in a name.  He thought that Twitter sounded too much like TWiT (potentially infringing on his trademark) and Laporte thought it made things too confusing.  In 24 hours, Laporte went from being the most popular person on Twitter, to going to a competing service Jaiku.

I like Leo Laporte, and I love the TWiT podcast/netscast.  I think he does really great work, but I’m not really quite sure what happened in the case of Twitter.  This would make sense if he never used the service or protested it from the start, but how do you from promoting it on many of your podcasts for weeks, actively using it daily and drawing thousands of users – to deciding that you can’t deal with it and moving over to another service simply because their name doesn’t sound like yours.  What is Laporte trying to do here, simply make a point?  “Because you didn’t change your name, I’m not going to use your service”.  That’s not exactly a classy way to go about it. 

Maybe there’s something going on behind the scenes here, but looking at this weekend’s events this just looks shady. I do believe that Laporte and the TWiT podcasts carry a lot of influence, but this is overstretching their power.  I’m not a sheep that was told to use Twitter – I use it because it’s something interesting and it’s fun to connect with different people.  To think that I’m going to start using another service simply because someone famous told me to do it is an insult to my intelligence.  This is especially trivial when you consider the word “twit”, which is a slang term that was around long before podcasts came about.  I could see where if Twitter was named AIM-MER or GOOGLER – but come on! 

I went over to check out Jaiku this afternoon. It looks ok, but it doesn’t have the simplicity of Twitter, nor the mature API support.  I run Twiteroo on my laptop throughout the day, and I use TreoTwit for my phone – it’s convenient and exciting to watch this unravel throughout the web.  Twitter built a community which includes my friends and various columnists, contributors and tech gurus.

Bottom line, I think this fiasco is going to damage Laporte and TWiT more than any similar name could ever do.  This is going to puzzle and annoy people like me, and this whole situation is just disappointing.