You have to live in or around the District of Columbia to appreciate the ineptitude of institutions here. Don't worry, this is not going to be a
political diatribe; this is going to be about people who can't get out of their own way.
The DC government could not find a way to accept Jack Kent Cooke's offer to build a new stadium in DC at his own expense. The Metro Board took a
couple of years to do a study to determine if running longer trains during rush hour would ease the crowding on the platforms. After pursuing a
baseball team for about 25 years and getting the Expos designated to come to DC, the politicos are now wrangling about where to build the stadium they
promised and about whether or not to fund it. And today, there is a new entry into this Pantheon of Pinheads...
The University of the District of Columbia - there is one, you know - announced that they will be canceling the basketball season for its men's and
women's teams. The reason is that they do not have enough eligible players. About two years ago, school officials got an anonymous tip that there
might be an ineligible player on the men's team. School officials began to look into it and found enough "questionable material" to expand the
investigation to include all sports from 2000 to the present. Now, it seems that ineligibility is the rule and not the exception for men's and women's
basketball players there and the school announced that there "might" be some problems with the tennis teams too. Why does this put these folks into
the Pantheon of Pinheads?
Look, if you are going to cheat, you have to win. If you are going to cheat while you are playing a Division II schedule, you ought to dominate your
competition. If you are going to cheat, you should do that to generate interest in your program leading to revenues and recognition. The Firebirds of
the University of the District of Columbia men's basketball program were 17-8 last year against a meager schedule and played to an average home
attendance of 104 people. That comes directly from their website; the total home attendance for 12 men's basketball games at home was 1,250 souls with
nothing better to do. And for this, the Athletic Department cheated? I wonder what the attendance was for all the tennis matches last year...
Remember yesterday, I told you about the Bulls' rookie whose wife gave birth in Argentina but he is not saying where she is because he is worried she
and the baby might be kidnapped? Well, that seems to be a cottage industry in South America. President Hugo Chavez honored Johann Santana in Venezuela
for Santana's great success with the Minnesota Twins. Then Chavez assigned four full-time security bodyguards to Chavez and his family for the
duration of their stay in Santana's native country. Talk about a tough crowd...
Get ready for a round of posturing and rhetorical gassing. If Utah beats BYU this weekend, it ought to qualify for a BCS Bowl game as the #6 ranked
team. But let me channel Lee Corso here for a minute and say, "Not so fast, my friend!" Utah is the Mountain West champion and the Mountain West
Champion is contractually obligated to represent the conference in the Liberty Bowl. So there could be a spasm of posing and posturing and bloviating
on the part of a bunch of folks until some money changes hands and Utah winds up in a BCS game.
And since I mentioned the BCS, please remember how the "fix" that was made to the system this year was to de-emphasize the computer rankings and to
put the human voters in control of what teams are ranked where. Problem is that the human voters aren't paying enough attention. Explain this to me,
please. Iowa is ranked a couple notches above Arizona State in the Associated Press poll. Both teams have two losses and their schedules are
comparable. However, one of Iowa's losses was by more than 5 TDs to Arizona State; most folks would call a 37-point loss a butt-kicking. So tell me
again why Iowa is ranked higher...?
A note in Jerry Greene's column in the Orlando Sentinel reminded me of a pet peeve. He reported that Ford Motor Company is sponsoring some kind of
Fantasy Football World Championship and that Ford Motor Company is "working with members of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association". Here's my pet
I want to ban fantasy sports columns on radio and TV in addition to newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. Additionally, I do not want to hear any
nonsense about the First Amendment.
Fantasy sports leagues diminish my enjoyment in watching games because you have people rooting for one team to win and for players on the other team
to score points. That makes my life less pleasant. Fantasy sports leagues have also spawned radio talk shows and TV programs that assault my senses.
Now hear this:
The only reason Joe Flabeetz plays in a fantasy league is to be able to show all the other people in that league that Joe knows more about how to
assemble and manage a team than those other people in the league. It's an ego thing; it's a demonstration of dominance and superiority. So, why do
these people need advice from anyone else? If they need advice, then they're not necessarily smarter or more competent than their competitors. So,
stop with the fantasy sports writing! These writers can find other work; I'm sure there is still a burgeoning industry in writing term papers for
college students. At least a 20-page paper on the roots of origami art in the Visigoth culture has some intellectual merit compared with a fantasy
Finally, the Denver Nuggets ticket prices are among the least expensive in the NBA; they average only $37.50 per ticket. Nuggets' GM, Kiki Vandeweghe,
says that he does not want to price families out of the market. That's good to hear. He said, "I want people to be able to come to a game for the same
price as a movie."
Memo to Kiki: Movies around here cost less than $10. If they cost more than $37.50 in Denver, I think you and I could start a lucrative business
smuggling movies into Denver and showing them in underground venues...
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon 2004