You know, I played basketball as a very young kid. I thought I was pretty good. I had played against my three older and very athletic brothers and their friends and learned pretty quickly I had to do things not regularly done – behind the back passes, no look passes, one-handed passes off the dribble and off-balance shots sometimes flipped beneath a defender’s arms – in order to compete with some success.

But the game is so much different now than when I played and I’m not sure I’m amazed or just dumbfounded. It used to be that if you fumbled a pass and the ball hit the court that was your dribble. You couldn’t pick it up and dribble. Maybe I’m stubborn –Ok, I’m stubborn – but I still winch then a player drops the ball, picks it up and dribbles away.

And then how about all those steps? I saw somebody the other day, and I don’t now remember who it was, receive a pass on the move about 15 feet from the basket and just run in and dunk the ball. I did a double-take. Did I see what I just saw?

I guess you are allowed two steps, and then add the Euro Step, and it’s like a fullback crashing through the line. I tell Michael, our 23-year-old last son, that if I could have done that when I was a young kid playing against my brothers and their friends, they wouldn’t have stood a chance.

The game of basketball has changed much even since I was coaching at Bremerton High School. We used the sideline break, which meant whoever got the rebound passed the ball to the sideline teammate breaking down the court and the fastbreak was on.

Teams still uses a variety of that, but now the guy rebounding breaks out on the dribble and makes the pass to whoever is open on the break, or sometimes just goes coast-to-coast for a layin. That seems logical enough, but when you realize the guy rebounding and dribbling up the court is seven-feet tall it becomes amazing to me.

James Harden is something else. He’s so calm and poised and I get almost hypnotized watching him slowly dribble up the court because I know he is going to do something magical. He dribbles, dribbles, dribbles and then may suddenly take a step-back and drill a 25-footer or just as suddenly, drive around his defender down the lane and smoothly put up a floater or a layin.  I keep thinking deny him the left side because he likes to drive that way. Yet, somehow he nearly always succeeds in scoring.

And his behind-the-back passing is remarkable.

If there is one thing I don’t like about him is he seems to fade late in games and allows the other team room to speed way to a victory.  I don’t know why that is.

The game of basketball is also now played with speed. Everybody on the team has to handle the ball, run the court and be quick. The speed is just mind-blogging. Sometimes I think the Warriors get going too fat and I’m yelling at the TV to slow down, but they manage to make it work, so I need to save my voice.

I seen something the other day that suggests the NCAA is thinking about changing the distance of the 3-point line for the 2019-2010 season. If a proposal is passed it would move the distance from 20 feet, nine inches to 22 feet, one and three-quarter inches, which is what the WNBA and the FIBA (International) uses. The NBA distance is 22 feet, nine inches.

I have a proposal. Move the hoop from 10 feet o 11 feet. That will not happen, though, because the dunk electrifies the crowd and if there is one thing that really matters to the various ruling bodies is making fans happy.

Am I the only one who is worried about the inequality in sports, especially baseball and basketball. There seems to be a lot of real bad teams in the past few years. That has led to teams tanking the season to get a higher draft pick, although the NBA is trying to get that stopped with its lottery system that this year allowed New Orleans (33-39) to get the first pick with the second worst team, the Phoenix Suns (19-63)  falling all the way to the No. 6 pick. The New York Knicks, which had the league’s worst record (17-65), had hoped to get the first pick, but wound up with the third pick. So I guess you can’t win for losing.

Last year in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles were worse than worst. They finished 47-115 and 61 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East standings. I played baseball and for most of the nearly 30 years I covered the Seattle Mariners for the local newspaper, I have seen plenty of bad baseball, but nothing like the 2018 Orioles.

I hate to say it, but you have to work hard to be that bad. Baseball is really a game of inches and you should be able to win at least 60 games just by inches. Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson had it right when he said, “You will lost 60 games and win 60 games and it’s what you do in the other 42 games that matters.”  Sparky wasn’t thinking of Baltimore when he said that, obviously.

I guess you can tank a season in baseball if you really work hard at  it, and get rewarded with a high draft pick. In the old order of things I would not agree with Seattle Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto and his step-back this season. But I have to consider that baseball is undergoing a revolution. Teams are beginning to think in terms of playing younger player and getting rid of their older players who are making the most money.

Teams are beginning to rely on analytics – swing angles and baseball rotations, etc. – and using it to instruct younger players earlier and bring them up to the Major Leagues earlier. Star, guys like Mike Trout, will still be paid to play, but if you are not close to Trout and are in your 30s you may have to find a job bagging groceries.

So in the near future you will see the Mariners and other teams with rosters of young kids making the MLB minimum and being under team control for the six years allowed under the basic agreement. The older guy like the 32-year-old Jay Bruce will be jettison, most likely by the end of July, and a younger player added.

And you can tank a season without appearing to tank. When you have a roster like Seattle’s where players can’t hit, can’t throw, can’t catch and can’t pitch, you pretty much are slated for the lower depths of the standings, no matter how hard the players try.

So welcome to the newest version of baseball.

As for the Seattle Seahawks, I have no idea of what is going on except that management seems to be bringing in veteran players who can help right away, which is the opposite of what baseball is doing.

I like what Pete and John are doing, but I hesitate to put a positive spin on this because football is such a violent sport and injuries happen and have a large influence on team’s fortunes. Say Russell Wilson gets injured, you might as well kiss the season goodbye.

Sometimes a man comes along that defies logic. Kurt Warner was bagging groceries for $5.50 an hour after being cut by the Green Bay Packers. He didn’t give up and came back to replace the injured Trent Green with the St. Louis Rams and led the team to the 2000 Super Bowl victory and to the 2002 Super Bowl, which they lost to the Patriots.

Warner faded with the Rams and was cut by the New York Giants, but found himself again with the Arizona Cardinals and took them to the 2009 Super Bowl, which they lost to Pittsburgh.

So miracles do happen. But don’t count on the Seahawks without Wilson having a miracle season.

That’s it for today.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.