Hopefully, by now, you’ve noticed that I’m not writing this whole site singlehandedly. I mean, obviously, I’m fucking brilliant, but I just don’t have that kind of time on my hands. Ted Bauer writes the weekly column “What We Learned” – sort of like our local version of The Wide World of Sports, except without the ski crashes. Give him a warm round of applause, and don’t forget to tip your waitstaff.
Pac Man Jones and the Indy 500 don’t mix
Someone made it rain for the 91st running of the gradually-declining-in-relevance race, and the results weren’t pretty towards that latter column. Dario Franchitti won a rain-shortened version of The Great Race, and because it wasn’t Danica Patrick, most of America probably ceased to care. The way for Indy to again become something that people focus on every Memorial Day Weekend – I think I might have been more fascinated by Tigers vs. Indians, honestly – is for Patrick to actually win one of ’em. That would be a seminal moment for the sports world across the board, and it’s exactly what the lesser brand of Indy car needs to snatch headlines from NASCAR.
Michael Vick and Barry Bonds have a lot in common
Do you find it funny that Vick and Bonds, both headline-grabbing and league-shaping personalities, have gradually fallen into the same boat? To recap: both are excellent at their vocation; both purportedly did something really bad (and illegal) on the side; there are people saying they can prove these things did, in fact, happen – but nothing is “official” yet; both athletes continue to participate in their day job, all the while with their fans assuming guilt. Oh, and there’s that whole “neither one has really won anything of true significance despite all the attention they receive” element as well.
Cleveland may well be cursed
Cleveland’s sports history is so depressing that if you just say certain things – “The Drive” or “The Fumble” or “The Shot” – you know damn well what we’re talking about, and you almost feel sorry for the Mistake by the Lake. Well, to John Elway going 98 yards and Earnest Byner coughing up the pigskin and Michael Jordan over Craig Ehlo, we add the following: “The No Call.” In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals ’07 – the second straight game that Cleveland could have won – LeBron got mauled going to the rack late and no foul was called. It should be noted Larry Hughes had a clear look at the basket right after LeBron’s miss, and he also tanked it. But, while “The No Call” won’t ever rank up there with “The Fumble” (we assume), if this series does go 7, it could become another depressing element of Cleveland’s sports history.
The Yankees are, in fact, cursed
Let’s recap the last few series for the Bombers, all of them important in many ways: lose 2 out of 3 to the Mets; take 2 of 3 from the Red Sox; and then get swept by the Angels at home. They are now 21-27, and almost 13 games back of those aforementioned Red Sox in the AL East as June begins; oh, and their next few games? DeSalvo on Monday (a rookie), then a 3-3 Andy Pettite on Tuesday. Things ain’t lookin’ up in the Bronx. Cue Mattingly entrance, stage left.
The Delta Center lives on
Over time, the name has changed – it’s now the Energy Solutions Center – but the place that NBA on NBC used to call “the loudest arena in basketball” still holds a lil’ magic for the Jazz. With their newfound Stockton (D-Will) and Malone (C-Booz) holding court, the Jazz utterly routed the Spurs in Game 3 of the Western Finals to improve to 7-0 at home this postseason. We fully believe the Spurs are going to win this series – and, right now, the NBA Title – but there is something to be said (a smidge) for the whole “Utah ran Houston to 7, then won the deciding game at their place” logic. The difference is, Duncan knows a lot more about being successful in Game 7s than Yao does.
The NHL needs new top brass
Can someone explain to us why the NHL’s latter conference final – the West – ends on Tuesday night, yet the Stanley Cup Finals don’t start until the following Monday? Meanwhile, on this past Friday night, there was no NBA playoff game. That woulda been the absolute perfect time to drop the puck. The only Sunday NBA game was a night tilt between the Cavs and Pistons – so the NHL could have gone Friday Game 1, Sunday afternoon Game 2 on NBC (to be pre-empted by a rerun of Facts of Life, no doubt), and then move forward from there. Making us wait a week for a sport no one really gives a crap about anyway is bad business.
The Chiefs aren’t very nice people
For anyone that has ever felt trapped in their job or general life situation – I feel that way all the time – Trent Green flows withcha. He’s basically held hostage in Kansas City presently, as he tries to negotiate some type of deal with Miami or another joint. Green’s no slouch: the guy hasn’t done jack in the playoffs, but we could have said that about Peyton Manning until this past year. He’s thrown for 4,000 yards, he’s guided some 13-3 and 12-4 teams, and he overall knows what he’s doing. The fact that he isn’t allowed to pursue another opportunity when he has given the best part of his career to KC already is preposterous on their behalf.
Maybe speed does kill
For all the talk about the decline of the stolen base as a weapon over the past few years – and the numbers do agree with that, in general – check this out: the leading team in the AL in that category (Angels) and the leading team in the NL (Mets) are among the four best teams in all of baseball. The Angels are running wild in a year in which Chone hasn’t even cracked double digits yet, and while the Mets are greatly aided by Jose, JO-SE, JO-SE, they seem to understand it’s a weapon to be used whenever appropriate. If we see these two teams in the World Series, I’m hopin’ Lou Brock gets to sit with Buck and McCarver for a few innings of Game 3.
The Royals are NOT the worst team in baseball
KC actually went 8-2 in a recent 10 game stretch, including pasting the Indians 11-7 once. They’re terrible – 19-32 as of Sunday night – but they aren’t the worst team on the diamond. That honor belongs to the Texas Rangers and Mr. Ron Washington, whom – despite bombs of an epic nature from Mark Teixeira – are 18-32 on the season, which is also worse than the Nationals. I’m not sure if this makes a broad statement on the Rangers organization, the value of good pitching, the fact that you shouldn’t build around also-rans like Lofton and Gagne, “The Curse of Sammy Sosa,” or any number of factors, but I’ll tell you this: KC GM Dayton Moore has achieved something here. It’s almost June, and someone is worse off than him.
The Entourage Curse is born
So, check this out. Chuck Liddell goes on Entourage, then promptly gets his ass pounded by “The Rampage” in the most hyped UFC fight of the last year or so. Brett Ratner goes on Entourage, and his f*ck buddy Lindsay Lohan is photographed doing coke, then gets a DUI on Saturday night – uh, didn’t she stop drinking? Pauly Shore goes on Entourage, and, well – his career was a joke way before that (anyone see Jury Duty?). Message to Tracey Ullman: the guest cameo they’re dangling may seem cool, and could be the thing to resuscitate your career beyond the whole “That’s the show The Simpsons started on, right?” line of questioning, but don’t do it. As soon as you snuggle up with Turtle, you’ll be busted for dealing heroin in Burbank.