NBA expansion, Indians inconsistency and the Dayton Flyers rebrand … While We’re Waiting

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Warning: Today’s While We’re Waiting will be a Kevin Love-free zone. Please give me my peace. I need it, badly.

NBA Expansion?! SonicsRising reported yesterday that the NBA is having private discussions over possible expansion to two new franchises, one in Seattle and one in Louisville. With the upcoming TV contract negotiations, it’s not a shocking idea. Seattle wants one back desperately. Louisville’s infrastructure and basketball-loving character make some sense. Keep your eye on this, folks.

Personally, I have a lot of sympathy for Seattle and I’m a big fan of the city of Louisville. I remember when Louisville popped its head into the Sacramento Kings talks to try and take that franchise. This would be good for the NBA. Folks might talk about thinning out the talent pool, but I don’t see rational proof of that most anywhere. The league would work itself out just fine.

The infamous PTBNL: ESPN had a list of the top five active players-to-be-named laters. They were sorted by career WAR. On the list: Two people acquired as PTBNL by the Indians and one traded away. Pretty neat to see how the Indians have exploited this option.

Inconsistency, defined: Entering yesterday, the Cleveland Indians were tied for fourth in the American League in runs per game. They also had scored three runs or less in 45% of their games – exactly the AL average. How does a team rank solidly above average in runs per game, but perfectly average in run distribution? Inconsistency.

The easy response is that the Indians are a team filled with inconsistent hitters. I don’t know how that’s true. How do we define inconsistency? What makes Kipnis, Brantley, Santana, Swisher, et al more inconsistent than other cores? One theory that fascinates me: Entering yesterday, the Indians were fourth in MLB in OPS against right-handers and 27th against lefties. Perhaps platoon imbalance leads to streakiness? I’m not certain.

Kipnis as an underrated leader? With the Indians being in Minnesota this week, I remembered some comments Jason Kipnis made last season in a late July trip to Target Field. They’re pretty powerful today knowing what happened during the rest of 2013.

“It’s getting into late July right now. We can make excuses for a while, but we need some guys to start stepping up right now. We’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot these last two games. You can’t blame the starting pitching. You can’t blame the bullpen. You can’t win many games if you don’t score runs.”

Does Kipnis deserve more credit than he usually receives for riling up the troops last year? Is it possible they could rally out of the gates again? Or is a mostly .500 team doomed to just finish right around .500 as it should?

Life goals: I thought I should let you all know here in WWW that I’ve established three new life goals in the last 10 days. Here they are:

Your support is very much appreciated in helping me reach these goals. Thank you.

The Dayton uproar: By now, you probably have heard that the University of Dayton unveiled a new athletics brand identity last Friday. The logo arrived first … and I was not too enthused by the early leaks. I really do like the uniforms, on the other hand.

But on Facebook … it’s a very ugly scene. Check out this post from UD on Monday and another from the Flyers men’s basketball page announcing the new change. Fans are protesting, petitioning for a new logo and urging the university to restore their old look.

As a 2012 alumnus, I never really liked the old brand and logo. I definitely understand the need for change. The new logo is subpar. The new uniforms are pretty good. But will I sign your petitions and call the athletic department non stop? Nah, probably not for me.

In other news: SportsAnalyticsBlog founder Jonathan Gordon wrote about FiveThirtyEight’s central mistake. TGI Friday’s endless appetizers special sounds terrible and is terrible. The Atlanta Falcons new stadium looks super ridiculously cool. Bleacher Report likely isn’t the best, as Deadspin investigates. And Katie Nolan used to be a bar mitzvah dancer?

Twitter trends: Twitter is fantastic, except during rumor season. But the fun part is that even during the chaos, we all get kinda silly sometimes. Here are just a couple of my favorites from the past week of Twitter memes and hashtags.

  • boomhauertjs

    Agree with you on the UD logo controversy. Uni’s are good and I could take the new logo or leave it. I did see something that the marketing firm who designed it employs the son of the University President. Not sure if that’s true or not, but…

  • Tron

    Expecting the worst as well for when the Browns new “re-branding” efforts come out next year. What with “Swagger” the dog and Alec Shiener I think we should all be cringing right now. Plus Nike.

  • mgbode

    PTBNL – the only 2 players that actually helped the team that acquired them on that list were Coco Crisp & Michael Brantley. Both acquired by the Indians.

    I would have been more interested to see a list of PTBNL sorted by WAR for the team that obtained them, but good to see we actually make good decisions with this trade kicker compared to our peers.

  • mgbode

    Virginia Beach makes more sense to me than Louisville. Going to be hard to take the latter away from their beloved Cardinals that time of year and a team there would want nearby Lexington fans to travel sometimes too, but would the rivalry that time of year prevent it?

    I was skeptical of VA Beach, but there were a lot of good articles at the time that talked to surrounding population (including Richmond) and the $$$ in the Eastern VA area.

    And, obviously, Seattle would get a team if the NBA expands. The main question is if the NBA could do it before the NHL and potentially kill the efforts to get a NHL team there.

  • mgbode

    As for the Tribe, anyone that tells you they know what they will do is obviously lying. Egads, this team defines why the phrase “It’s baseball” that comes with a shoulder shrug exists.

  • BenRM

    Seattle deserves to get a team back, and Louisville seems as good a spot as any. However, the dregs of the NBA are really dreg-y. When only 4 teams have won significantly more than half of the NBA championships, are more bottom-feeders a good idea?

  • RGB
  • mgbode

    you could replace this with a GIF and noone would know that you brought up this topic. it’s not too late.

  • Christian

    It’s a young man’s game.. with the average age of every NFL team under 30, its no surprise that changes like this are made.

  • RGB

    Just pisses me off…

  • mgbode

    better off than on, I always say

  • mgbode

    because in the NBA, I don’t think you are going to get more teams winning championships just from the nature of the best players meaning so much more than other sports.

    as such though, you better make sure that 2nd team has a really strong fanbase (we know Seattle will) as starting a NBA team from expansion is a really brutal process. heck, Charlotte is still building.

  • mgbode

    I don’t mind Swagger. Bull Mastiff at the game is a much better idea than a guy in a dog or elf suit or wiener dogs. Not sure why it took so long for that idea.

    Nike has done okay with under-stated upgrades. It’s up to Haslam/Scheiner to make sure they keep to it though. I have no idea what to expect.

  • RGB
  • mgbode

    Is that Moises Alou? He says it’s better than batting gloves.

  • RGB

    Hey now!
    Don’t be hatin’ on the wiener dawgs.
    A liter of Dortmunder Gold, a brat, and some wiener dawg races…good times!
    ***digs around in closet for lederhosen***

  • Ed Carroll

    Not really answering your question (I was looking to find it), but did find this which I found funny. From the wikipedia page, I really think MLB should just call these transactions “loaning” a player :)

    “Four players in MLB history were traded for a PTBNL, then subsequently traded back to their original teams, thus being players that were traded for themselves:

    Harry Chiti was traded to the 1962 New York Mets from the Cleveland Indians for a PTBNL. However, the teams could not agree on a final deal, so the Mets traded Chiti back to Cleveland for himself.[1]

    Brad Gulden was traded from the New York Yankees to the Seattle Mariners in 1980 for a PTBNL, then in May 1981 Seattle traded him back to the Yankees.[2]

    In 1987 Dickie Noles was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Detroit Tigers for a PTBNL. As with Chiti, the teams could not agree on a final deal, and Noles was traded back to the Cubs.[3]

    On July 22, 2005, John McDonald was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Detroit Tigers for a PTBNL. McDonald was subsequently re-acquired by Toronto on November 10, 2005, in a cash transaction completing the trade.[4]”

  • Daniel Van Meter

    I know Columbus has been campaigning for an NBA team for an few years now.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Those hopes died when LeBron was drafted by the Cavaliers. There’s no way Dan Gilbert will let another NBA team exist so close to the Cavs, especially with the Cavs’ popularity across the state. Columbus is a huge Cavs town now.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    That B/R piece is depressing and fascinating.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Interesting side note, though. My senior project at Ohio State in the GIS program was a feasibility study on Columbus as a potential NBA city. This was spring of 2003. Right before the Cavs won the lottery and got LeBron, which completely changed the dynamics of NBA interest in Columbus.

    But prior to LeBron, the demographics and infrastructure were in place for Columbus to be an NBA city.

  • mgbode

    Finally managed to get through the D/S article on B/R. It pretty much hit on what I have read B/R to be. A cold, calculating company that preys on the young writers that wanted to become sports writers, but realized those opportunities were scarce. Honestly, I think the guy went pretty easy on the company due to his previous experiences with them and the fact that what they are doing sounds borderline illegal (or actually illegal, but difficult to prove).

  • mgbode

    If I am going to wiener dog races, then I don’t want to see some minor league version. I’m going to the best. None of the dogs Haslam got even deserve to hold Princess Mia’s custom-fitted dress & tiara.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    32 NBA teams? Hmm… since I’m bored:

    8 divisions of four teams. Play other conference H/A (32). Play own division 3H/3A (18). Play one rotating division in conference 2H/2A (16). Play other conference teams H/A (16). That’s 82 games still with a bigger divisional emphasis.

    Other option is four divisions of eight teams, with H/A against the other conference (32), 2H/2A vs. own division (28), and 3 games against each team in the other division with the H/A split based on prior year finish (24) for a total of 84 games. That one is a lot simpler to split geographically.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    8-team divisions:
    Bos, NY, Bkn, Phi, Was, Cha, Orl, Mia
    Atl, Lou, Ind, CLE, Chi, Mil, Det, Tor
    Min, Mem, NO, Dal, SA, Hou, OKC, Den
    Utah, Pho, LAL, LAC, GS, Sac, Sea, Por

    4-team divisions: [UGH – would be easier if the conferences could be mixed]
    Bos, NY, Bkn, Tor
    Was, Phi, Ind, Lou
    Cle, Det, Mil, Chi
    Atl, Cha, Orl, Mia
    NO, Dal, SA, Hou
    Mem, OKC, Min, Den
    Utah, Pho, LAL, LAC
    GS, Sac, Sea, Por

  • Steve

    Who can win a championship is never a criteria used in determining if a league should expand. The sole criteria is if it can make the owners more money than they already are making.

  • Garry_Owen

    “Digs around.” Right. We all know that the lederhosen is hanging on the front rack. Stop frontin’.

  • Steve

    Cold-blooded supply and demand. Plenty of young people want to be sportswriters and there are few jobs. And the demand wasn’t for his specific services, but just for any news on Minnesota/Bay Area teams. He could be replaced and few would ever notice.

  • mgbode

    Conferences CAN be mixed. I think that is part of the reason they want to expand. To mix-up the current dynamics of the conferences.

    The NBA has gone to a more and more “meaningless division” model and they have had support for a “meaningless conference” model. Who are the last 5 winners of the Eastern Central Division? Atlantic? Does anyone care?

    The only issue is travel and cost. I think they can come up with a better arrangement and will.

  • Paul Riden

    Seattle vs. OKC ! Can’t wait !