♦ ITEM: The New York Times writes an interesting story on pro sports ownership and the economy. The article mentions the Hawks and the Thrashers as teams that may be on the market. Hmmm.
♦ POSTSCRIPT: So I posted this blog Wednesday morning on the Times story. Sent emails to two owners (Mike Gearon, Bruce Levenson), two general managers (Rick Sund, Don Waddell) and the heads of the teams’ respective public relations departments. Our Chris Vivlamore requested to speak to Waddell, who has been the quasi-CEO of the two sports teams since Bernie Mullin’s exit. No response. No denial. Certainly no confirmation. Not even a, “We’re not going to comment on every story that comes out” non-denial/denial. Now, I don’t know if the Atlanta Spirit has put the two teams up for sale. I don’t know if one team is for sale and one isn’t and they didn’t want to put out a split statement. I don’t know if all of the owners couldn’t decide what they wanted the statement to say so they just bagged the whole thing. Maybe this was Waddell’s call, maybe it wasn’t. But to flat out respond to a story with silence is flat out unprofessional and allows speculation to linger in an already unsettled economic sports market. Nice job, guys.
♦ POSTSCRIPT: Even though he was told by NFL teams not to be concerned, Thomas was worried that he wouldn’t be able to improve his stock before the draft. He may not have to. The receiver just moved onto Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” of top 25 players for the first time. Kiper doesn’t draft for NFL teams but his ranking of top players usually is pretty solid. Former Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan remains Kiper’s No. 6 overall player, and Thomas is listed 25th, with the comment: “Big, physical wideout; constant home run threat in vertical scheme.”
♦ ITEM: Looking for a long shot in the NCAA tournament? Georgia Tech would be a good start. The online sportsbook Bodog.com has listed the Jackets at 150-1 to win the championship, which ranks 35th out of 64 teams. That’s at least ahead of East Tennessee State, Lehigh, Montana, Morgan State, North Texas, Oakland, Robert Morris, Sam Houston, U.C. Santa Barbara, Vermont and Wofford. All 11 are at 500-1.
♦ POSTSCRIPT: OK, here are some of the fun prop bets:
– Over/under on how many picks President Obama gets right in his bracket: 22 1/2. His bracket is to the left: He has Kansas beating Kentucky (two red states in the last election) in the finals.
– What percentage will be higher: Obama’s bracket or House of Representatives who vote to pass the Health Care Reform Bill in the next 72 hours: (Obama’s bracket slightly better than even-money favorite.)
– Odds on the mascot of the winning team: mammal (5-4), human (2-1), bird (2-1), reptile (40-1) or other (17-4). For what it’s worth, a “Blue Devil” is considered human. Some might dispute that.
– Odds to win the tournament MVP: C0-favorites: Sherron Collins of Kansas and John Wall of Kentucky at 5-1 each. Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal is 150-1, Derrick Favors is 200-1.
– How many buzzer-beater winning shots will there be in the first round: 0 is the favorite at 5-7.
– Conference with the best tournament winning percentage: Big Ten (2-1), Big 12 (2-1), Big East (3-1), ACC (6-1), SEC (6-1), Atlantic 10 (7-1), Pacific 10 (10-1), West Coast Conference (10-1).