Every once in a while, someone asks if it is difficult for me to put myself in a curmudgeonly frame of mind and go find material for these rants. I
tell them that I don't need to be in any particular frame of mind to do it because stuff happens all the time that makes "curmudgeonosity" rather
People do things all the time to demonstrate that the "feelgooders" in the world are living in a delusion. Today's example comes from Jerry Greene's
column in the Orlando Sentinel. Remember all the sentimentality and the warmth of fulfilled wishes that surrounded this event as you read what Jerry
Greene had to say this morning:
"Remember Oprah giving free cars to 276 spectators? One of the cars was put up for sale on eBay."
I know that puckheads will be saddened by the announcement that the NHL All-Star Game scheduled for Atlanta in February has been cancelled. For the
rest of the sporting world (about 99.9% of the sporting world actually) this news was greeted with a very large yawn. You know the definition of a
yawn don't you? A yawn is an honest opinion openly expressed. Actually, this amounts to a cost-cutting measure for the league. The All-Star Game
itself is an expense that the league will forego; and on top of that, no player with a bonus clause in his existing contract related to All-Star Game
selection/participation will be fulfilled this year. The only fault that I find with this announcement at this time is that come February the NHL will
have to remind me that this would have been the weekend when the All-Star game might have been played had there been... I hope no one expects me to
remember on my own.
The drum is already beating for that NBA game on Christmas Day when Shaq goes back to LA for his only regular season game against the Lakers - and
Kobe. Out in Las Vegas, they had a future bet posted for the game when I was there in October. The game opened at Lakers - 2 and the line had already
moved to Lakers - 1.5 by the time I was in Vegas meaning money had shown up on the game already. Now it seems that ticket brokers are asking more than
$25K for a courtside seat to that game and no parking pass comes with that ticket. For a parking pass, you have to cough up an extra $100.
No, I did not place a futures wager on that game.
I wonder if any of the Boston Red Sox players or coaches tossed a sheet over the head of one of their kids and sent them out on Halloween to
trick-or-treat as Babe Ruth's ghost?
I think that the University of Minnesota football team was ranked as high as #10 about a month ago. They were certainly in the top 20 and I think they
made it to #10. Then they lost in the final moments to Michigan and got the snot stomped out of them by Michigan State. Last weekend, they lost to
Indiana. That's not a typo; they lost to Indiana. A month ago, the coach was talking about playing on New Year's Day and maybe even in the Rose Bowl.
Now they are hoping to get a sniff from minor events like the Silicon Valley Classic or the Motor City Bowl. Here is the danger for them in going to
one of those games. They will face a so-called "mid-major" team there who might be out to show that they can beat up on one of the big boys. Now, if
you can lose to Indiana...
West coast offense or no west coast offense, the way to win football games rests upon the ability of a team to run the football effectively and to
stop the other guy from running the ball down its throat. Going into last weekend, NFL teams that had a runner gain 100 yards in a game had a combined
record of 51-15. Passing stats can be unreliable predictors of victory because lots of gaudy stats can show up in games where a team falls behind
early and has to throw all the time in an attempt to catch up. Last weekend, Craig Krenzel was victorious throwing for 168 yards and a TD; but Peyton
Manning lost with 472 yards and 5 TDs.
But the best example of the importance of a running game comes from an NAIA game last weekend. Dana College quarterback Tom Lensch was 56-101 for 507
yards and 2 TDs and the team lost the game to Hastings College by a score of 60-35. Yes, he indeed threw the ball 101 times. In baseball, they'd have
gone to the bullpen when the pitch count got over 75 for a kid of that age...
Oh yeah, Hastings College won that game by running the ball. Running back Eric Moody carried the ball 37 times for 313 yards and 4 TDs...
San Francisco and Oakland are home to two pretty putrid football teams this year. The stench in the Bay Area from these two puddles of putrescence is
monumental. Imagine the aroma if by some freak of nature about a hundred whales beached themselves simultaneously all around the shoreline and rotted
in unison in the warm sun. Yeah, that's about it. On various 49er fan websites, team president, John York, has already picked up the moniker "John
Dork" and the level of invective is rising to the point where someone from Homeland Security might begin to be concerned. The Niners are 28th in the
league at running the football but at least they stop the run as well as half the teams in the league.
Across the bay in Oakland, players and coaches are arguing on the sidelines while the team surrenders more than 30 points in its fifth straight game
and the managing general partner who assembled this team stews in his box. The Raiders are old and the Raiders are slow. That is an exacta that you
don't want to hit if you are building a team. It looks as if Al Davis took off-season lessons from the Danny Boy Snyder primer on how to put a
miserable product on the field. The Raiders are 29th in the league in rushing offense and 27th in the league at stopping the run. The Raiders won 4
games last year and thought they had re-tooled the team for this year. Unfortunately, it seems as if their re-tooling consultant was Tim "The Tool
Finally, one final - presumably - commentary on sports and the Presidential election from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
"Herald headline in Sunday's paper: 'Document Says Bonds Tried Steroids'. In other news, exit polls indicate Ralph Nader trailing badly."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon