I know that many of you are just now recovering from the depression caused by the end of the WNBA season and are beginning to find a few things to do
with the hours of attention you had poured into following every detail of that league and its players. I'm sure that in your depressed state, you were
not buoyed by the news that WNBA president, Val Ackerman, had resigned to spend more time with her family.
I was so crushed at hearing this news that I could not even pick my nose. To read some of the paeans of praise written about her stewardship of the
league has been inspiring, but there is one little problem. If you took all the columns/articles written about her and her leadership skills and you
bound all of them together in a book, you'd have to file it under "F" for fiction.
Look, she has overseen a league for eight years that has never shows a profit. Granted, the WUSA can match that record, but people in the US actually
do care about basketball; the WUSA is fighting a losing battle on two fronts. She had more than just the backing of the NBA; she had its financial
strength behind her and had its negotiating muscle on her team. The universally acclaimed promotional genius of David Stern was there to guide her and
punctuate her actions. Stern said in the aftermath of her resignation that Ackerman's "contributions to the women's sports movement have been
monumental." What a crock!
In eight years, the league never came close to breaking even. They inflated the attendance figures to pretend they had a huge untapped vein of fan
interest and when no such groundswell of interest materialized, they gave away tickets to try to fill seats to make the WNBA look like it was an
"event-in-demand". That didn't work on two levels. They did not generate a new wave of paying customers. Even worse, people did not come to games and
fill the seats even with free tickets!
WNBA players leave their teams here and go overseas to play more basketball because the salaries are so low but still not low enough to have the
league break even. The WNBA champion Seattle Storm players are dispersed to Italy, China, Australia and Russia already. I do not wish Val Ackerman any
ill fortune but the hosannas tossed her way seem to be a lot of politically correct wishful thinking. Her departure from the WNBA and the sporting
scene seems to be analogous to the old philosophical conundrum:
If a sports executive resigns and the league is no more irrelevant than it used to be, does it matter?
Yesterday, I took a shot at David Terrell for his lack of performance in support of his inexperienced QBs. A reader commented that I should also have
taken a shot at Tory Holt for his lack of production on Sunday as the Rams lost to the hapless Dolphins. Holt is a Pro Bowl WR and he caught all of
one pass for four yards on Sunday as his team lost a game that never should have been in doubt. Some people have said that the trio of QBs on the
Chicago Bears' roster at the moment may be the three worst QBs to be on a roster at the same time in league history. That is saying a lot and it would
take far too much research to refute the claim even if I only focused on the Chicago Bears who have not had an outstanding QB since Sid Luckman in the
40s. But I agree that Quinn, Krenzel and Hutchinson are probably more suited to forming a public accounting firm than they are to be star QBs in the
NFL. So it did surprise me a bit when the Bears tried out Tim Couch and then asked him to take a hike. My first reaction was that Couch had to have
done something outrageous in his tryout - like hitting on the owner's 12-year-old daughter or something like that. According to John Clayton of ESPN,
Couch worked out and then needed to ice his shoulder down and the thinking is that he might need surgery and not merely rest and rehab on his arm.
That makes sense. Quinn, Krenzel and Hutchinson are all better as QBs than Tim Couch throwing left-handed.
When the Jets and Pats played last weekend, it was the meeting of two teams that were 5-0. The last time that happened in the NFL was all the way back
in 1973 when the Vikings and Rams played. I would never have guessed anything that far back if given that question as part of a trivia contest. Would
Jayson Williams is in the Cleveland Cavaliers camp trying to hook on for another NBA gig. There was a time - several knee injuries ago - when Williams
was a valuable player because of his solid defense and his outstanding rebounding. He's been out of the game for three or four years and has had some
significant off-the-court difficulties involving a shotgun and a corpse and some actions that might indeed have been taken in an effort to make the
shooting seem accidental. So, Jayson Williams has more than his share of "baggage" as he tries to make the Cavs' roster. But if his knees and legs are
solid and he still has the energy to play basketball the way he did 5 years ago, he might be part of the "replacement package" that the Cavaliers will
need to find now that Carlos Boozer has taken his act west.
Finally, Peter Schmuck in the Baltimore Sun noted a sign displayed outside Fenway Park before one of the World Series games there:
"I Waited In Line For 22 Hours So I Didn't Have To Listen To Tim McCarver Announce This Game"
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon
[Edited on 10/31/04 by SportzWriter]