After the last two nights, it can be a little tough to be a positive, upbeat Phoenix Suns fan. I get that. However, if you told most people that the Suns would go 2-2 while playing four games in five nights (three on the road) against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, they’d call you crazy. So, given the situation, I’d say this week of Suns basketball has been a very successful one.
Yes, it sucks to watch your favorite team get dominated two nights in a row. It sucks a lot, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. There’s no reason to hit the panic mode, no reason to think this team needs to trade Steve Nash, and no reason to think this team won’t make the playoffs. That’s all nonsense and just the mindless chatter of people that overreact.
It is, however, time to say Florida sucks. I mean honestly, who likes humidity?
Anyway, back to the NBA, where blowouts happen sometimes. They happen to every team, that’s just the way it is. They’ll happen to the Lakers, the Heat, the Celtics, the Spurs — everybody. Some nights the guys take the floor and they just don’t have it. You look for any positives that may be there, take what you can from them, and then throw the film away and move on. That’s exactly what the Suns will do here.
People seem to forget this team has a lot of new players that are trying to gel and build chemistry. That chemistry is starting to show, but it takes a while to build and get it to where they want it to be. When you factor in the injuries to Nash and Robin Lopez along with the brutal schedule to start the season, that chemistry takes even longer to develop. Remember, this team didn’t hit their stride and really start to click until February last season.
Phoenix has two games remaining on this current road trip; one in Charlotte and one in Houston. Both games are very winnable. They’ll have Friday off to practice and prepare for the Bobcats on Saturday and then Sunday off to get ready to face the Rockets on Monday. I’m very confident the Suns will bounce back, pick up a split on this trip and head back to Phoenix with an 8-6 record.
Shout out to Jon Bloom
I just want to give a little shout out to Jon Bloom from Sports 620 KTAR. Bloom is the host for the Planet Orange pre-game and post-game shows on KTAR and does a great job. Unlike most media members in the Valley, Bloom keeps things positive and never has a knee-jerk reaction. He’s by far my favorite radio personality and I highly recommend everyone give him a listen. You can catch Bloom before and after every Suns game and every Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon on the Jon Bloom Show on Sports 620 KTAR. You can also follow Bloom on Twitter: @Azbloom.
Third annual @PhoenixSuns Tweetup
On Friday, December 10, the Suns will host their third annual Tweetup presented by Discount Tire when they square off with the Portland Trailblazers. Fans that attend the event will receive a #SunsTweetup shirt as well as early entry to the arena and the opportunity to take part in a Q&A with Suns forward Jared Dudley after the game. To buy tickets visit the official Suns website.
Thanks to Francine Hardaway for giving us permission to republish her tribute to Mike Ratner, owner of Tom’s Tavern and a friend of Downtown Phoenix.
On the eve of the Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference I got some disturbing news tonight. Ilana Lowery, long time editor of the Business Journal of Phoenix tweeted out that Mike Ratner, owner of Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix had passed away from cancer.
This made me cry. Mike opened that restaurant when I was working with Trammell Crow Company to reinvigorate downtown. Trammell Crow had just built One Renaissance and Two Renaissance, downtown buildings that were to be centerpieces of the new downtown.
Mike and I became friends, and I helped him market the restaurant not once, but many times. He was the quintessential entrepreneur who never gave up. He raised a loud voice to decry injustices that affected his business: street closings, light rail construction, taxes, new projects that cannibalized existing businesses,–anything that endangered his baby.
He was an old time restaurateur who greeted his guests himself every day at lunch time and seated them personally. The Mayor ate there (or rather, a succession of mayors), the Governor, the legislature, and the lobbyists. Deals went down at Tom’s.
Mike’s struggle was never to take a lot of money from the restaurant, it was to keep the restaurant alive. He and I would fight to the mat over things like my suggestion to put calorie counts on the menu, or to include lighter items as times changed.
He would argue, but he always respected my opinion. Nevertheless, there are no calorie counts to this day.
About ten years ago, I told him he had to have a web site, and an email newsletter. He fought me, but he became adept at sending out the newsletter, and even more adept at learning the analytics behind ConstantContact. He worried about how many people opened it, and got upset when the “opens” declined. Then he would call me for a new idea. My last recommendation was Twitter, but I don’t think he got there:-)
Mike had enormous faith in downtown Phoenix, and during the 2008 recession he and Julian Blum, another friend of mine, opened a real estate office to broker downtown property. I hung my license there in a gesture of support, although I don’t really sell real estate. We also started a downtown breakfast lecture series, and did all kinds of promotions. Mike would try anything, and he had boundless energy even after he got cancer.
About two months ago he realized he would have to sell the restaurant to take care of his health. In the current environment, buyers for restaurants are scarce. But I am trying with all my heart to make one manifest for Tom’s Tavern.
Good night Mike. It was a privilege to work with such a pure, dedicated entrepreneur.
Ben Bethel, owner and GM of the Clarendon Hotel, recently offered up the below suggestions to elevate Downtown Phoenix to the next level. Mind you, these are simply Ben’s thoughts and ideas, but it made us wonder what our neighbors and Downtown visitors think about accelerating these ideas into reality. Voice your opinions in the comments section, and let us know what else is needed to affect change in Downtown Phoenix.
Streetlamps to immediately define the neighborhood, let’s get some funds together and purchase streetlamps for the high-traffic areas: Roosevelt Street from 7th Avenue to 7th Street, then extend to 15th Avenue to 16th Street, as well as 7th Avenue and 7th Street from Roosevelt to McDowell. If you check sites like alibaba.com and buy direct from manufacturers, the solar-powered LED streetlamps range from $200-$1,200 each — there are no trenches to dig or streets to rip up, they don’t need wiring, the bulbs last 20 years and need no maintenance, and once installed you can pull the copper from the old streetlamps and sell it and pay for a nice portion of this project.
Here’s a link to the streetlamps — there are literally thousands to choose from.
When will the farmers market move to 1st Street from Hance Park to Fillmore, or at least Roosevelt to Fillmore to start? The current parking lot is a lawsuit waiting to happen — I see people tripping over parking blocks, potholes and uneven pavement while also nearly strangling themselves on low-hanging tarps that are literally as short as me — 5’8″. One small spark and you could have people screaming in pain while turning into plastic army men.
The current lot could be used for parking for the market, while the street could space the booths further apart — and when booths are separated by about two booths’ worth of dead space, sales for merchants can be 300-500% higher, as people can capture someone and spend time with them. The more time spent with someone before they move on to another booth, the greater chance they will buy something. The higher sales bring in more merchants and better quality ones at that.
I know 1st Street has some improvements coming, but make sure that power is one of them… then you can also have stages set up on the north or south sides of Roosevelt, and the north side of Fillmore as focal points for the market. Newsstand or larger booths (as you would see in Europe or Washington, D.C., or NY or other cities) could become permanent fixtures, ready to open in minutes without all of the set-up and tear-down. This would also help support foot traffic to the businesses along 1st Street and increase sales. The market could become a Saturday and Sunday fixture Downtown.
Once the market is taken care of — or at the same time — change First Fridays to an every Friday event. Hey, the stages are there, the booths are there, you’ll have plenty of space for entertainers — be it street performers or BMX stunt bikes or whatever. The vendors would be different than the farmers market; this is adaptive reuse at its finest. Once Fridays takes off, expand to Saturdays, but with a more adult focus on the music stages.
After these take off, get vendors to come in from Monday to Thursdays — make this the hip, stylish, fun, funky, unique street flea market that all cities die to have — art, jewelry, clothing, furnishings, food, flowers/plants, etc. This is the stuff that makes Florence/Rome/London/Paris/Madrid/NYC amazing cities to live in. This could draw more conventions to town, more hotel rooms, more visitors, more tax revenues.
This would make Phoenix interesting. This would make us stand out. This would give people something to do. This would span two Metro stations — get off at Van Buren, walk the market, get back on at Roosevelt after having lunch/dinner in the area. This would define neighborhoods. This would put us on the map. And it would be cheaper than setting up a single First Friday — after all, First Friday has to be set up then broken down. Here, you’d just be setting up.
PS: While we’re at it, how can I get involved in building a few 500-unit apartment buildings Downtown? We need residents, especially if we don’t want to see CityScape repeat the history of Park Central, Mercado, Arizona Center and Collier Center. Without residents there can’t be life after 5 p.m. Here’s what I think we could do, albeit with a bit more style: Build five 500-unit projects in a very short time frame — I don’t think we’d be able to build them in six days, but here’s proof that it’s possible.
Thanks for listening to my rants/ideas; the opportunity is there, the execution of the ideas for 1st Street is easy and couldn’t make more sense. This could start January 1, and everyone would look great for doing it. Start it as a six-month trial, see how it goes and see if there’s demand. If the demand is high, invest in shade structures and outdoor cooling systems and keep it year-round.
Previous week’s games
11/05/2010 SUNS 123, Grizzlies 118
11/07/2010 SUNS 118, Hawks 114
11/08/2010 Grizzlies 109, SUNS 99
Upcoming week’s games
11/12/2010 SUNS vs Kings, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/14/2010 SUNS @ Lakers, 7:30 p.m., My45
11/15/2010 SUNS vs Nuggets, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
11/17/2010 SUNS @ Heat, 5 p.m., My45
11/18/2010 SUNS @ Magic, 6 p.m., TNT
Seven games into the 2010-11 season and the Phoenix Suns are a game below .500 with a record of 3-4. This has caused some people to overreact — so much that ridiculous trade speculation involving Steve Nash has even sprung up, granted none of that talk has come from the Suns (or any other NBA franchise for that matter), but it has come up regardless.
I’m not going to talk about any of that. The Suns are going to be fine. If you’ve watched any of the Suns’ first few games, the bright spots are there. This team has lots of potential. One of the brightest spots of this early season has been the impressive play of newcomer Hakim Warrick.
The season is very young, but it’s already clear to see that Warrick is the perfect fit for the Suns. He’s long, quick and extremely athletic. Plus, he loves to dunk — something all Suns fans love to see. His game is tailor-made for Alvin Gentry’s offense and Warrick is getting the chance to prove that.
The former Syracuse standout has been solid off the bench. Warrick is putting up 12 points a game on 62% shooting from the field while pulling down five boards a game. He leads the team in free throws, highlight reels and facial hair.
“Helicopter,” as he’s sometimes referred to as, is excellent in the pick-and-roll, which has been the Suns’ bread-and-butter play for years. The chemistry is already starting to develop between Warrick and Nash and fellow point guard Goran Dragic, and is sure to get better as the season progresses and the team continues to gel.
Early rumblings from fans have suggested that Warrick should be moved into the starting lineup to replace another newcomer, Hedo Turkoglu. This could be a good move, but I think it may be a little early in the season for a change like this. The bench is playing great and Warrick is a huge part of that success. Either way, I doubt this matters much to Warrick. The way he carries himself, you can tell he’s a great team player that is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Suns pick up some victories.
Warrick is quickly becoming a fan favorite with Suns fans not only because of all the posters he’s making out of defenders on the court, but also through his interaction with fans on Twitter. He’s not quite Jared Dudley (yet), but he’s quite interactive with fans and seems to be very down to earth. He’s even been known to discuss his frustration while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops with some of his followers.
Warrick will continue to win fans over with his impressive play the more they get to see him. He is a prime example of why Suns fans need not worry: He’s part of a core group of guys that are only going to get better the more than play with each other. I’m excited. All other Suns fans should be as well.
Be sure to follow Hakim Warrick on Twitter: @hdubb21.
The Arizona Theatre Company is bringing the compelling story of “The Mother of the Blues” to the Valley.
Ma Rainey broke into show business when she was 13 years old, and began her career as a recording artist in the early 1920s, according to ATC’s play guide.
She became famous across the country and earned the title, “The Mother of the Blues” due to her influence on the development of the blues as popular music.
Her songs were soulful tales about the life of African Americans during the 1920s, telling stories of the pain of jealousy, poverty, sexual abuse and the loneliness of sharecroppers, the play guide states.
The performance takes place in 1927, when Ma Rainey, played by well-known actor and recording artist Jevetta Steele, is preparing to record her jazz music. Upon entering the studio, she quarrels with a battling quartet of musicians, a stingy producer and her manager who is simply trying to keep the recording session on track, the website says.
Written by Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright August Wilson, the play shows the audience a time when even the most renowned singer of her day had to fight for respect.
Because the theatre is a nonprofit and tickets are not meant to to cover total operating costs, they will always be kept within reach of all members of the community, according to the website. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the door, and prices start at $30. The play opens with preview shows tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 8 p.m. before the grand opening on Saturday at 8 p.m.
The Herberger Theater is located at 222 E. Monroe St. Downtown (light rail stations at 3rd St & Washington/Jefferson). For tickets call 602.256.6995.