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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on Ray Lewis, The Jags', UCLA plus more...

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posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 05:26 PM
I'll begin 2005 with comments on the myriad Bowl Games that blight the sports scene during the Holiday Season. After UCLA showed its great pride by losing to Wyoming, I read that UCLA had managed to sell all of 4,000 tickets to that game which was held in Las Vegas.

Fans of UCLA could have driven to that game if they had wanted to; and last time I checked, Las Vegas was a pretty significant draw for tourists and visitors. It is not as if the school had asked its faithful yet beleaguered fans to travel to Boise, Idaho to watch the team play on a blue field. So the team has now tanked two bowl games in a row to "mid-majors" and the fans aren't even willing to take a short hop to a tourist haven to see them in a bowl game. Sounds like a good reason for them to give the coach a contract extension through 2010 -- which is just what they did.

The payout for the Fort Worth Bowl is $750,000. The attendance for this game was reported as 13,204, which is about 40% of the attendance for a high school football championship game in Texas earlier this year. Do you understand now why these are television events and how it is the money tossed around by ESPN and its "partners in crime" that creates many of these bowl games, which add nothing of benefit to the human condition?

I wonder if all of the people who were so upset by the "exclusion" of Cal from the Rose Bowl are ready to do a public mea culpa for all the rhetoric we had to read and hear. In case you missed it, the Golden Bears showed up at less than 24-karat quality against Texas Tech and lost by 14 points. People like to talk about teams playing for pride and for momentum going into nest season; I'd love to hear what Cal was playing for… Is this how the nominally 4th best team in college football shows that it was wronged in a corrupt and flawed procedure and demonstrates why the system needs to be changed?

Oh, by the way, Auburn plays Va Tech tonite and there has been a lot of moaning about Auburn having been dealt a bad hand by the BCS mavens too. Let me say this before the game happens. If Auburn believes that it is worthy of consideration for part of a "split national championship" after tonight's game, they will need to dominate - I said "dominate" not "beat" - Va Tech tonight. That's what it will take.

On 23 December - before the Vikings/Packers game - and when it was still uncertain whether or not the Vikings would pick up the option on Mike Tice's contract for him to be the coach there next year, Charlie Walters wrote in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press:

"Uh, oh: Les Steckel's last game as head coach of the Vikings was against Green Bay. Jerry Burns' last game as Vikings head coach was against Green Bay. Denny Greene's last game as head coach of the Vikings was against Green Bay. All were Minnesota losses."

Not to worry here. After the Vikings lost to the Packers the team announced it would pick up that option for next year and then the Vikings went out and wet the bed against the Redskins yesterday. It would seem as if that would break the "curse" here until you notice that the Vikings have to play the Packers next weekend in the first round of the NFC playoffs. So if the Packers stomp Green Bay by 5 TDs, the owner can still decide to "make a coaching change" in order to "go in a different direction" and the consistency of the universe may yet be preserved.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the reported rift between Jeff Garcia and Cleveland Browns' management. Now some of the scribes in Cleveland are writing that Garcia did not live up to the hype he brought with him from San Francisco - not seeming to realize that most of that hype originated with the team and was magnified by the scribes and talking heads in Cleveland. Roger Brown pointed out in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer recently that Garcia started 10 games this year and in those ten games he had "fewer wins, lower completion percentage, lower QB rating, more interceptions, more lost fumbles and more losses than (Tim) Couch had through ten contests last season." You don't suppose that it was someone associated with the team that came up with those stats, do you?

I sure hope that the city of Jacksonville has the Jaguars tightly bound to their stadium lease because if not, this is a team that could leave town sooner and not later. Everyone was surprised when Jacksonville got a team in the first place and now that there have been a few losing seasons, even a strong showing this year and a playoff run have not been sufficient to fill the stadium. Five of their home games were blacked out locally and next year they are going to cover up about 10,000 seats and that will reduce the stadium capacity to less than 50,000 seats - not counting the premium/luxury seats. If that does not produce sell-outs, I suggest that the Jaguars could be seriously in play as a team that could be induced to move somewhere

During the off-season last year, the Colts paid Peyton Manning $34M as a signing bonus. A couple of weeks ago, the Falcons paid Michael Vick $37M as a signing bonus for his contract extension. Now the report is that Ray Lewis says it would take $50M up front to get him to sign a new deal. Sorry, but he's not nearly worth that kind of money at this juncture.

I ran across a quote attributed to Al Goldis who was an assistant to Jim Duquette in the NY Mets' front office. Goldis said, "We scout all left-handers until they've been dead for two days." In that moment I had a flash of insight as to the continued interest in and the systematic payment of legal tender by MLB teams to Terry Mulholland. He may not be nearly as effective as a pitcher as he once was, but he is still very effective as respiration and digestion and things like that...

The SF Giants will probably get the nickname the SF Geriatrics sometime during the next season. At the moment, their projected starting line-up will have third baseman Edgardo Alfonso as the "youngster" at age 31. Marquis Grissom at age 37 will be the youngster in the outfield so fans in SF can expect to see more than a few balls make it into the outfield gaps and go to the wall.

The spirit of the Holiday Season seems not have made it to Manchester, England. At the Manchester City soccer team's Christmas party, Jamie Tandy reportedly tried to set fire to the "fancy dress costume" of teammate Joey Barton. I have no idea what a "fancy dress costume" is and cannot tell you why such garb appeared at a Christmas party as opposed to a Halloween party. Whatever; I think I am on safe ground in saying that trying to set fire to a teammate's attire is a less than collegial act. Oh, but it does not stop there. Barton took umbrage at this inhospitable act by his teammate and retaliated by "poking a lighted cigar" into Tandy's eye. At that instant in time, you'd have to say that Barton ceded the moral high ground in this matter. I don't have a lot of details but Tandy was not seriously injured and Barton was suspended by the team for six weeks without pay (somewhere between $150K and $200K) and life goes on. I do think there may be some "interpersonal issues" that need to be worked out on that team, no?

Finally, here is a good line from Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post. It was written before Texas extended Mack Brown's contract and before the Rose Bowl game:

"What's the holdup with Mack Brown's new contract at Texas? The Oklahoma alums haven't finished passing the hat."

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon


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