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Time to vote but time to cut back all-star campaigning


And so it begins, fan balloting for the all-star starters began yesterday and here we go again.

As usual now, every player in the league is on the ballot, you can vote once a day between now and sometime in February and let the popularity contest begin.

There’ll be all kinds of time for us to talk about who should be here and why or why not (I’m looking at you, Kobe) and what makes an all-star (yes, team success should basically be paramount) so let’s go another direction right off the bat:

What will be interesting to me is what – if anything – the Raptors do overtly to push the cause of their players.

You remember last year when DeRozan was on the shelf the organization went out of its mind pushing fans to vote for Lowry?

It worked, of course, because he started the game but “worked” might not be the right way to describe the campaign since I think fans would have voted him in anyway.

This year, what do they do?

Lowry’s absolutely deserving but maybe DeRozan is, too. Does management push one or the other as hard as they did last year? Do they stay out of it entirely? Do they find some subtle way to politic to make sure no one is offended?

I’d say stay right out of it, outside of nightly reminders that balloting is open and people should vote for deserving Raptors. I get that the game is here and hometown representation would be very nice but I think the organization as a whole might want to step back from the lengths it went to a year ago.

I’m not suggesting it necessarily fosters resentment among teammates because these guys are smart enough to know how the world of marketing goes but I bet it could tick off people around them and no one needs that.

No one needs some friend or distant family member dropping the “hey, man, why they hyping that guy so much and not you? You’re as good, even better. They need to take care of you” stuff on anyone.

And trust me, it happens. It’s been to the point where people close to players have wondered why there are so few of one replica jersey hanging in the stores and not so many of another. Sure, it’s childish and silly but it happens and doing anything that could possibly engender it isn’t worth it.

And I guess the bigger question, which I’m sure we’ll delve into in greater detail in the next eight weeks or so is this:

Is it better to win a popular vote with fans or to be named to the team by coaches who have vastly more insight into what or who an all-star is?

Off the top of my head, and saving a more detailed argument for my point for a day later on when I need it, I would say the latter would be more significant to a player.

But, whatever. You can vote, vote early, vote often and have fun.

This is rather iconic and a bit cliché, too, but along with King of The Road, it’s a great late-night, over-served, kitchen-singing tune, no?

A trickle of mail arrived yesterday – no Christmas cards, though! – and that means there’s plenty of space for your queries for the weekend.

So get those fingers working, go on over to askdoug@thestar.ca and let me know what’s going on.

They tell me it’s two weeks until Christmas, imagine it’s time to start remotely thinking about it, right?

Christmas and the mid-day flight to Milwaukee through Detroit so I can get to practice.

My disdain for the NFL is relatively new, at points in my callow youth I was a fan and, of course, given the geography and the TV options in the peninsula, I wavered between the Browns (Jim Brown, Frank Ryan) and the Bills (Jack Kemp, Paul Maguire) before settling on the Bills in the Jim Kelly era.

So that’s why I am truly interested the 30 For 30 documentary on that four Super Bowl team that’s airing this weekend, and which, after reading this story by SI’s Richard Deitsch, seems wonderfully compelling.

And given the tone and tenor of the piece, here’s my question to you:

Given your druthers, would you rather the team you support get close four times and never win The Big One or win it once and fade away for years and years?

Personally, I like the idea of sustained excellence, and the ride.

I think it reveals character traits in the principles that I admire: Surviving crushing losses to do it again, a grit and determination and the joy of the journey that’s hugely important in pro sports where there is only one ultimate “winner.”

Anyway, it would appear this show provides the kind of look-back and historical perspective I enjoy and I’m sure I’ll find it on the air here sometime somehow.

Totally apropos of nothing, you know how I feel about Canada and what we do as a country and how proud we should all be to live here, right?

Well, I don’t know if I’ve been more proud after watching our overall reaction of the arrival of Syrian refugees yesterday.

That’s some heartwarming stuff right there.

Chris hit the tone well with today’s piece – it was Nothing But Net day in my life – and how the lads comport themselves against Milwaukee and Philly this weekend will be telling.

Rested and at home and capable of playing quite well, there’s no reason for them not to take care of business except a lack of discipline and mental toughness.

So, we shall see. But someone who’s watched them beat San Antonio and Cleveland and Atlanta and Oklahoma City and lose to New York, Denver and Sacramento and Utah was walking up the tunnel after the win over the Spurs on Wednesday and remarked:

“The Bucks are now favoured by 11 on Friday.”

Prophetic or a joke, we will find out.

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS | DOUG_SMITHS_SPORTS_BLOG

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