I believe it was Richard Nixon who said that he read the sports section of the newspaper first because the sports section chronicled man's
achievements while the front section chronicled man's failures.
If he didn't, he should have said that. Whatever. The headline in my newspaper this morning says that the Presidential election is too close to call
and that teams of lawyers are examining options with regard to vote counting in various places. Once again, sports provide the explanation for events
that appear on the front page of the newspaper.
All we need do is invoke the greatest sports philosopher of the day, Mr. Lawrence "Yogi" Berra, for his seminal wisdom:
"It's deja vu all over again."
The NBA season began last night with three games; tonight a crowded schedule of thirteen games brings the NBA to audiences from coast to coast. I know
that many of you have been using the baseball playoffs and the football season merely as ways to keep your seat warm in front of your TV sets in
anticipation of games such as tonight's Milwaukee/Orlando tilt or that nail-biter in LA that matches the Sonics and the Clippers. Well, your drought
is over; the NBA is back; and they want you to believe that it is "fan-tastic". Despite the shameless hype coming out of the ESPN self-promotion
machine and the noise emanating from the NBA itself, these early season NBA games draw about as much national excitement as the finals of the Prune
Eating Championships. The NBA will catch a break this fall because there is no NHL around to compete on the margins for the attention of sports fans.
Nor will the NHL consume a lot of time on SportsCenter or in newspapers because the NHL has only one story and it can be shrunk to the following:
"There will be no games for at least the next six weeks because the owners and players have not agreed on a collective bargaining agreement."
But there is a barb in there. That means that the NBA will get added space and attention this fall and all of the NBA news is not good. Here in the DC
area, the Wizards put out a particularly boring product for which fans can easily shell out $75 a seat or more. Let me be kind here and say that
anyone who pays $75 a seat to watch those jamokes play at basketball for two hours is cognitively limited. You might be able to make some serious
money standing outside the MCI Center this month and ask people attending Wizards' games to give you change for a seven-dollar bill. If they are
watching that team in November, they obviously have discretionary money to spend and they are obviously not real bright...
If parents want to take a couple of kids to see the Wizards, they are going to shell out $300 for seats and then at least another hundred in ancillary
costs. For that outlay of funds, they might see the Charlotte Bobcats or the Orlando Magic. The slogan that applies to games like that would be - if
truth be told:
Wake Me When It's Over
1. Other than Vince Carter, name three members of the Toronto Raptors.
2. Name three Atlanta Hawks.
3. Imagine you just paid $300M to land the Charlotte Bobcats' franchise and you have just looked at your roster. How long will it take you to stop
Meanwhile the NBA players are a thuggish bunch. Qyntel Woods was already suspended by the Blazers pending the resolution of some charges that he was
involved in dog fighting. Woods has had previous run-ins with the law and the league involving drugs and alcohol and now has been suspended by the
league for yet another violation of the league's drug policy. When Mom and Dad lay out that money to take the kids to a meaningless game, here is one
of the role models they could see. How swell. When players aren't making news for sociopathic acts, they are making news for being preening,
egomaniacal schmoes. Scott Ostler reported that Jason Richardson is "upset" because the Warriors did not extend his contract and "max him out".
Richardson says he has been loyal to the franchise and expected some loyalty in return - in the form of guaranteed millions of dollars of course. How
did he show his loyalty? By winning big games? I don't think so. Here is what he says he did to show loyalty:
"I've represented this franchise in dunk contests, the Rookie Challenge, the stuff at All-Star weekend. I think it's time for them to be loyal back to
In baseball news, the Cubbies and Sammy Sosa have hit a speed bump in their relationship. I've always thought Sosa was vastly overrated as a player
and there are no real indications that he is much of a team leader. So, I guess I'm not the least bit surprised to read that the Mets might be
interested in acquiring Sosa. That is a typical Mets move. They acquire an aging slugger with diminishing skills who couldn't lead a coyote to a pork
chop. I know that it is dangerous to put a historic perspective on things without letting the appropriate time pass, but just how will baseball
seamheads remember the Mo Vaughn Epoch with the Mets? Can't those people learn anything?
Fernando Valenzuela is now 44 years old and he is working out so that he can try a comeback this winter with a Mexican League team, the Aguilas.
Valenzuela is announcing Dodger games and so he has a tie to that team. Come springtime, he could be in the Dodger camp for several reasons:
1. They need pitching.
2. He can be marketed in LA.
3. He'll probably work cheap.
Finally, to bring together one more time the world of sports and the world of Presidential politics, here is a good line from Mike Bianchi in the
"OK, these negative campaign ads and scare tactics are getting ridiculous. Dick Cheney is telling voters that if John Kerry is elected, Dave Wannstedt
will get a contract extension."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon
[Edited on 11/7/04 by SportzWriter]