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Associated Press

Aaaand I'm back

So, did ya miss me?

("You were gone?" you're sneering).

Well, miss me or not, I missed some stuff, after two-plus weeks away from my oar. You always think you've planned your away time for ebb tide in the sports cycle, forgetting that in 24/7 World, there no longer is an ebb tide. Stuff happens even when stuff isn't really happening, at least in the Stuff Like The Super Bowl sense.

Sooo, here's a few things I missed:

* My Pittsburgh Pirates (The Farm Team to the Stars) are in first place and nine games over .500, and Andrew McCutchen might be the best player in baseball right now.

I probably don't even have to say that this is merely another piece of evidence that the Mayans might be right about that whole end-of-time thing.

* Wait, we have a playoff now? The BCS croaked while I was gone?

Well, not really. Once you take the four-game playoff apart and lay it out in pieces, this is still just the same old powers-that-be looking out for their own economic interests. After all, they only came around to the idea of a limited playoff to begin with because, surprise, surprise, they discovered it was going to enrich them even more than the BCS did.

So, voila, a four-team playoff. Don't look for anyone but the usual suspects ever to crack it, however. The same people who orchestrated the whole benighted construct of the BCS to control the lion's share of the bowl and TV coin will decide who gets into the playoff. So all they've really done is swap out one money-hoarding scheme for another.

* Wait, Lebron has a ring now?

And did it with one of the great playoff performances in history. So, enough with all the numbing parsing of his playoff performances. When you start counting how many shots a guy takes in a given quarter of a game, and hold that up as evidence of either his greatness or his fraudulence, you've lost sight of the big picture.

And the big picture is, the guy's the best player in the game. Is now, was before the ring.

* Wait, Steve Nash is a Laker now?

Guess this means the Lake Show hasn't closed its run quite yet.

* Good to see Colin Chaulk, Brett Smith and Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock have re-upped for another hitch with the Komets.

Despite what everyone likes to say -- that what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room -- it's the biggest lie on two feet. What happens in the room, good or bad, never stays in the room; you see it on the ice every single night. And Chaulk, Smith and Schrock were three of the main guys who made sure that happened for the Komets.

Which is a big piece of why they were hoisting another trophy in May.

* I see Tiger's fade in yet another major hasn't diminished his drawing power. As with so many stars on the back nine of their careers, it's no longer about performance with him, it's about memory. Tiger's still the only certifiable draw in golf because everyone remembers who he was, not who he is now.

And so, here's your headline on this morning: "Follow Tiger's debut at Greenbrier."

I believe I'll pass.

Ben Smith's blog.