I don’t tweet anymore. I’ve been clean of that evil for nearly a year now. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone has cared or noticed that @dieter has been dormant.
It’s been an excellent decision for my mental health, but a year in, it’s still challenging to re-wire my brain after so many years of pushing out seemingly any thought I had.
I still have these not-quite-fleeting, not-yet-a-column ideas. So I returned to my notebook, sorted through the muck, and picked out my Kur-ten-bach best. (See what I did there? Please keep reading.)
If you want to read Niners and NFL stuff — and only Niners and NFL stuff — just look for the footballs. Same with Warriors, baseball, and hockey. You know what sports balls look like.
Here we go:
• Sports bring families together. In my family’s case, the baseball playoffs have opened up a massive dialogue between members nationwide.
But no matter where Kurtenbachs reside in our great country, we all agree: these baseball playoffs are horribly structured.
It’s so bad it even has me feeling sympathy for the Dodgers. Heaven help me.
Now, the 100-win Dodgers were a flawed team. Their sub-par starting pitching was always going to prevent them from winning the World Series this season.
But I expected them to play more than three playoff games.
Major League Baseball’s rule changes on the field have been great. But the league has failed when it’s most important — the postseason. The current structure encourages brinksmanship — it’s arguably better to barely make the playoffs than to win your division, much less the regular-season title for your league. (Ask the Orioles.)
By barely squeezing in, you’re afforded at least two games. It allows you to take any momentum you had at the end of the regular season and build upon it in the postseason.
By winning 100-plus games, you’re afforded only three contests in the best-of-five division series. You also have to sit for nearly a week to play any games — the longest break of the season.
How is any of that fair?
• You can tell Major League Baseball didn’t think about this playoff format beyond the increased television revenue when you see the Braves and Phillies — two of baseball’s best teams — playing in the second round. Yes, the reward for winning 104 games for the Braves is playing the best Wild Card team in a best-of-five series. No one thought about re-seeding?
• Here’s my proposal: go back to Wild Cards only being guaranteed one game. Make the division title mean something.
The best option would be to cut out a playoff team — the two Wild Card teams play one game, and that’s who plays the No. 1 team in the league. Remember that format? It was good!
The second option — and this is the one Major League Baseball will take, if they’re reading — is to add a Wild Card team.
The three division winners get a reasonable break, on par with the All-Star Game’s, to heal up and re-set their rotations. The four teams that didn’t win the division engage in a Battle Royale: Six games, three days, two winners. The first round — 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3 — goes down on Tuesday or Wednesday, with Thursday being the two Wild Card play-in games. Then the actual playoffs start on Friday.
Call me, Rob.
(You can call me too. Hit the voicemail line or text 510-479-0932.)
• All the hype around Jonathan Kuminga is starting to get me excited for this season. It’s also creating a bit of a problem for JK.
With the way Warriors players and coaches — and now the media and fans — are talking him up, we better see the modern-day version of Shawn Kemp come Oct. 24. Given how Kuminga played the first two seasons of his career, that’s a giant leap.
I’m not saying it won’t happen; I’m merely saying the hype might not be commensurate to the output, at least right away. We’ll find out soon enough.
• That 17-0 prediction from Sept. 22 doesn’t look so outlandish now, does it? I’ve seen a few other folks hop on the bandwagon. There’s still plenty of room. You could be next.
One guarantee: if the Niners are undefeated going into Philadelphia and beat the Eagles on Dec. 3, you, me, and everyone else on the bandwagon can be and will be insufferable. Doesn’t that sound fun?
• Draymond Green was moving around well at practice on Tuesday. The word around the beat is that it was not an anomaly. The Warriors are conservative with their injury timelines, but I’m having a hard time imagining Green not playing on opening night.
• Now will Green be in the starting lineup? I’m not so sure about that.
Remember, Green came off the bench in the Warriors’ first-round series with the Kings last year. The role suited him for that series.
Might it suit him with this team?
With Steph Curry wanting to play the full first quarter and Chris Paul needing to anchor the second-unit minutes, there are many moving parts to the Warriors’ rotation. But don’t be surprised if Paul — who wants to start — takes Green’s spot in the starting lineup. After all, one of Draymond’s goals this year is to prove he’s the ultimate team player. This would be a grand gesture that could go a long way for the Dubs.
• The 49ers picking up defensive end Randy Gregory is the kind of move great teams make in-season. I wouldn’t be shocked if he had an Emmanuel Sanders-like effect for a Niners’ defense that didn’t need any help.
• The Sharks season starts on Thursday against the defending champion Golden Knights, and I must admit that I’m entering this campaign with the wrong mindset.
I’m frustrated. This team hasn’t made the playoffs in four years, yet the rebuild is seemingly just starting. How long will this no-playoff streak go? A fifth year is effectively guaranteed before the puck drops.
I’m envious. Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft, has looked awesome for the equally miserable but now hopeful Blackhawks.
I’m anxious. How much work will I need to put in to find positives for this team this season? It’s looking like a lot.
I love covering hockey, but this Sharks season will be a hard sell for you and me.
So, I guess, go Barracuda?
• Do not sleep on the Niners adding more before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. The Niners have more cap space than any other team in the league, per OverTheCap.com. While they want to roll as much of it over to next season and beyond as possible, this team has shown a laudable aggressiveness in recent seasons. (It, funny enough, coincides with when “cap expert” Paraag Marathe’s top priority for the team was to buy and run Leeds United. Isn’t that weird?…)
I don’t think Denver’s Patrick Surtain Jr — arguably the league’s best cornerback — is on the table for San Francisco. But Cincinnati right tackle Jonah Williams (a pending free agent) and Carolina defensive end Brian Burns (another pending free agent) are possibilities. I don’t think either would cost a first-round pick.
And hear me out here: if Brock Purdy goes down before Oct. 31, I don’t think it’ll be Sam Darnold leading the way for the 49ers for long.
No one wishes this — and, again, it’s only in the case of an injury — but the Niners have enough room for Kyle Shanahan to reunite with Kirk Cousins.