Everything in life can be labeled one of two ways: Good for Ball, or Bad for Ball. Doesn’t have to be sports-related, either.
To wit: “Saturday Night Live” is Good for Ball. Even when it’s bad, as it often is these days and has been for years at a time in the past, it’s good. The 40th anniversary show was Good for Ball, too. Epic, even. Joe Piscopo at 80 years old is a little sad, but, hey, Bill Murray still crushing it at 112 makes up for it.
But what the hell happened with Eddie Murphy? Dude single-handedly brought “SNL” back from the dead back in the day, and he remains the biggest star the show’s ever produced. Yet on the biggest night in show history, he comes out and speaks for 38 seconds? Not a single joke, save the initial, “Keep it going for Eddie!” crack as the welcome applause rained on him? Look, if the geezers like Piscopo and Murray and Dan Akroyd can strap it on for another skit or two, so can Eddie. He’s Gumby, dammit! Bad for Ball.
Got how it works? Good for Ball, or Bad for Ball. For everything. But we stick to sports. Here’s the latest:
• Grantland, which doesn’t stick to sports but is the brain-child of Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, is a must-visit on your daily surf of the Web. It’s mostly about sports, written by some of the brightest minds in the business, but it’s infused throughout by clever takes and features on pop culture — movies, music, Chris Brown being an idiot, the works. If you only have time to hit one site at work because you never know when the IT guy is secretly snooping on you, hit this one and consider yourself well-informed. Good for Ball.
• Much respect to Simmons, who has turned himself into a franchise and made improbable careers such as that enjoyed by the Bay Area Sports Guy possible, but who decided he was someone we’d want on the panel of an NBA show? To be worth a damn on TV, you need presence, or a respected playing history in the sport, or at the very least menace, a la Stephen A. Smith. Simmons has nothing. He brings nothing. He comes off as a petty little popoff. Bad for Ball.
• Ndamukong Suh. Please, please, please, please, please, please, please make him a Raider. Whether it works out or not, rest assured there will be a circus to watch every few weeks, and who doesn’t love a circus? Good for Ball.
• Angel Pagan is being considered as the Giants’ No. 3 hitter. Because Nori Aoki can lead off. Someone tell us this is a bad rumor, planted by the Giants to move the spring training conversation in any direction that doesn’t lead to, “How are you going to beat the Odd-Year Jinx?” Not only is Buster Posey the PERFECT No. 3 hitter, but Pagan is damn near the PERFECT leadoff hitter. How about this: Hope to hell Pagan stays healthy enough to hit anywhere with regularity. Bad for Ball.
• Looks like the Niners are going to say goodbye to Michael Crabtree. Average-at-best, hurt-too-often, whining-incessantly Michael Crabtree. What a bust. Good riddance. Good for Ball.
• Looks like the Niners also might be saying goodbye to Frank Gore. Tough-as-nails, always-there-when-you-need-him, passionate-as-hell, hell-of-a-teammate Frank Gore. If they let this gem walk, it’s further evidence that all that “class” talk from Jed the Boy Jester is just that. Talk. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. Bad for Ball.
• And finally, a word about the Warriors. Look, in just about every way, they’re Good for Ball. Their best player and their coach and their general manager are all humble and accessible, and incredibly good at what they do. And they’re all young, giving us reason to believe that the good times will roll here for a while. But black warmups? Slate jerseys? Come on. That’s just shameless merchandising taken to ugly new levels. That’s taking advantage of our love. And that’s the one thing about the Warriors — we’ve looked everywhere else, and only other thing questionable is the new color (burnt siena?) of Bob Fitzgerald’s hair — that’s Bad for Ball.
Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for MLB.com, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).Good for Ball Bad for BallGrantlandMychael UrbanSan Francisco Giants