More Simmons: Raptors aren't cool

LeBron James (left), Chris Bosh (right) and the rest of the Miami Heat are cool. The Toronto...

LeBron James (left), Chris Bosh (right) and the rest of the Miami Heat are cool. The Toronto Raptors, not so much. (REUTERS)

Steve Simmons, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:51 PM ET

The opening day of the abbreviated schedule tells you all you need to know about the NBA. It tells you who’s in, and who is out, who’s cool, who’s not, and who matters and who doesn’t.

This is what many hoped the league would get away from with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But here in the land of the Raptors, where there is little to be excited about, all the Christmas Day schedule tells the local fans is: You’re not relevant.

The Knicks play the Celtics and the Lakers play the Bulls and LeBron and the Heat play the champion Mavericks and even Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder (now cool) play the Orlando Magic in one of two games added to opening day.

The NBA even added a Blake Griffin game, so we know now, the Clippers are considered closer to the mainstream, too. As for the Raptors, well, never mind. At least none of us have to worry about a home game on Christmas.

RED SOX MESS

Say this much for the Boston Red Sox: They lead all of baseball in entertainment. First they kind of fired manager Terry Francona. Then, general manager Theo Epstein bolted to join the Chicago Cubs. And then Ben Cherington was named GM, which meant he got to pick Francona’s replacement? Right? Wrong.

Cherington wanted to hire Milwaukee’s hitting coach, Dale Sveum to manage the Sox, and if not him, Tigers’ coach Gene Lamont. But team president Larry Lucchino wouldn’t sign off on Sveum as manager and wanted Bobby Valentine instead.

In the end, Lucchino won, the new general manager lost, and now everybody is denying that any of this took place. It seems, the Red Sox were confused all through September and have continued with that confusion through the months that followed.

Meanwhile, Valentine was only signed to a two-year contract, which prompted speculation all its own. Turns out, John Farrell’s contract with the Blue Jays has two more years to run as well.

TAMPERING IN THE CFL

The Canadian Football League is a strange place of business. You can’t, as the league pointed out the other day, tamper. But you can, if you’re David Braley, own two of the eight franchises, which by itself is odd enough in professional sport.

So if I’m to understand exactly what happened, Scott Milanovich, not yet under contract to the Argos, talked to his former roommate, Chris Jones, as he does just about every second day throughout the year. This time the conversation was different. This time it was about joining his coaching staff, assuming he was taking the job of coaching the Argos. Which is what happens every time coaching friends get are approached about new jobs. “If I get this job,” you ask, “will you come with me.”

Jones, under contract to the Calgary Stampeders, probably was the one who acted inappropriately here. But in the end, the league that’s about to provide a million or so dollars to try and pump up the Argos, will get $5,000 back of it in a fine for tampering. In the end, the Argos get their coach and their money back. Not a bad deal, overall.


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