* I've been meaning to write an open thank-you letter to Jim Harbaugh for some time now, so here's my chance.
Dear Coach Harbaugh,
May God bless you and grant you health and happiness for all of your days. Sad as it is to admit, watching the 49ers wallow in mediocrity -- and, in some years, downright ineptitude -- over the past 9 or so years eroded my interest in the NFL. I always fancied myself as a fan that loves sport so much that I'd continue to watch regardless of how good or horrible my team is, and my unwavering interest in the NBA (while maintaining loyalty to the New York Knickerbockers) certainly went a long way to proving that point. But, sadly, the NBA may just be, for me, a unique case. I certainly followed the NFL, paid attention to the weekly happenings, gathered with friends during the playoffs, etc., but there was a definite level of detachment compared to the glory days of Joe Montana and Steve Young. So, Coach, by returning the 49ers to relevancy, you've not only given me back my team, you may have given me back an entire sport. These past 9 years, I've been relegated to cheering for the Giants on several occasions (gag!, ugh!, hack!) -- though I must say we as a world are eternally indebted to them for sparing us the unmitigated horror of a 19-0 season. But, finally, the paper bag can come off; I can watch and root for the 49ers with hope, and without a tinge of shame -- last Thursday's drumming at the hands of an obviously-very-good Ravens team notwithstanding. But I digress. Thank you Coach Harbaugh. Thank you for giving me back my team.
* Seriously, you cannot devote an entire article to the supposed need for NBA contraction and not even so much as mention the economic impact removing teams will have on the dozens of businesses and thousands of people in the cities in which those franchises are located. Cut the Clippers, and Donald Sterling just yawns and goes back to collecting rent money (from everyone but people of colour that is). Mr. Bryant, do you have a job lined up for each of a few thousand freshly unemployed people? I am utterly, thoroughly disgusted that anyone would write so much tripe about saving a few dollars from some billionaire's little side business whim and just completely ignore what a franchise means to the infrastructure of the cities and lives of "regular" people. Howard Bryant, you are the 1%.
* OK, so it's really looking like the NBA now stands for Now Ballin' Again. There's so much you can say about the lockout, but, ah well, it's apparently over now. I've been holding my breath, slightly, since word broke about the agreement, seeing as how it up till now is far from official. But with every day comes news of some move in a positive direction -- the players canceling charity games, reformation of the union -- so I guess it's safe to say...ah damnit, I can't do it. I'm still holding my breath, at least until training camps officially open. Maybe. But for the record, generally speaking, I'm not to be counted along with the majority of jealous, hating fans that openly blame the players for the lockout. You (a player) have a unique commodity that singularly fuels a multi-billion dollar industry. If you think you deserve and can get more for your talents, hey, do you. No one would bat an eye if, say, Lady Gaga postponed releasing an album for a few months while she worked out what she thought was a better deal with her record company. I am certainly not about to sit here in a plush cushiony chair and cry about the "injustice" of losing an entertainment option for 2 months. Cry me a river. The only people with legitimate -- very legitimate -- gripes are all the arena workers, the ushers, concession workers, ticket agents, parking attendants, and the affected businesses, bars, restaurants, what have you, that take a serious financial hit every day those arenas are dark. The rest of us need to go read a book and stop the pampered-child bellyaching.
Anyways, the 49ers are back to relevance, the NBA is (uh, I think, maybe, probably) back in business, and Mystic is back to blogging -- completely irregularly-timed, totally event-driven, externally-motivated blogging that is.