This name change for the Angels has gotten out of hand. A court had to take time to hear arguments and then refuse to hand down a temporary injunction
to prevent the team from calling itself the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The city of Los Angeles filed a brief in the case supporting the city of
Anaheim on this saying in effect that they did not want their city name attached to the Angels.
The Anaheim folks were disappointed with the ruling and said that they are looking forward to a trial on this matter. That will help the judicial
logjam. Lots of people here have far too much time on their hands! The whole matter seems to prove the old adage about bureaucratic struggles within
government agencies; those battles are fought with such fervor and intensity precisely because the stakes are so minuscule. Same with the name of this
A reader of the LA Times put all this in perspective with this inquiry:
"So, do you think the Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles will stand a chance against the New York Giants of San Francisco this season?"
While on the subject of baseball, I read that the Twins submitted a $5M contract for Johann Santana and he countered with a $6.8M contract and it will
go to arbitration. The Twins should be thrilled even if they lose this one. In this off-season of silly contracts for pitchers, Kris Benson got $7M a
year; no matter what happens, the Twins will get Santana for less than the Mets will pay Benson. Unless Santana gets his arm caught in a meat grinder,
this is a good deal for the Twins.
When the Oakland A's traded away two of their three best starting pitchers, you had to know they had a back-up plan. Well, it looks as if this is the
plan. They just signed Keiichi Yabu from the Japanese league. He was born in 1968 so unless birth certificates in Japan behave exactly the opposite of
the way they behave in the Dominican Republic, Yabu is 36 years old as we speak. And his lifetime record in Japan is a less than sterling 84-104. OK,
if that is the back-up plan, what is the back-up to the back-up plan?
When the Astros lost Jeff Kent and Carlos Beltran, I asked what they might have in mind as "Plan B". Well, they did sign Roger Clemens to a one-year
contract for $18M but they tipped their hand this week when the final piece of that puzzle was put in place. The Astros announced that they signed
John Franco to a one-year deal too. That about evens things out, no?
ESPN and Rob Dibble could not agree to a new contract and they have each gone in a different direction. I could only take "Dibs" in small doses so I
can't say that I'm going to miss him a whole lot.
Soccer players must be fundamentally brighter than hockey players; that's the only conclusion I can draw. While the NHL is in the process of imitating
a self-eating watermelon, the soccer players and the USFF reached an agreement whereby the players agreed to a no-strike provision while a collective
bargaining agreement was being worked out and USFF agreed to a 37.5% pay raise while the agreement was being hammered out. This will allow the US
national team to compete in pre-World Cup matches without using "replacement players". Soccer players and officials probably were smart enough to
realize that the ONLY thing that gives soccer an even temporary burst of interest in the sporting cosmos is the World Cup. If the US were not to make
a real attempt to qualify for that event and were eliminated a year before it happened, that would produce a six or seven year drought in anything
close to positive publicity about soccer in the US. The sport is moribund to begin with; that would kill it. Hockey folks, please take notes here.
In another hockey related story, former NHL defensemen Dale Hunter was suspended indefinitely as the coach of the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey
League. Hunter "circled his fingers around his eyes, as if wearing glasses, while looking at [referee] Joel Washkurak ... in Petersburgh and was
promptly ejected." That is a far cry from the NHL where he would probably not have gotten a suspension for anything short of whacking the referee with
his stick -- twice.
A talking head on ESPN stared into the camera and said with a straight face and with seriousness that Denver Nuggets center, Marcus Camby, sprained
his ankle and had to be helped from the court in a game against the Mavs. And while being helped to the locker room, he "grimaced with each step". In
other news, the sun came up in the east this morning ending a night that was - well - dark.
The New Orleans Hornets are reportedly trying to trade Baron Davis. The Minnesota papers say that the reason the Timberwolves are reluctant to pull
the trigger on a deal is that the Hornets did not take out insurance on Davis' contract which has almost $60M left on it. So if he got hurt – and he
does have a history of back problems - they might get stuck with the contract all by themselves. I can't understand why a team would fail to get
insurance on an asset that they valued at more than $60M. But then again, this is George Shinn and the Hornets we are talking about...
We all know that there are certain immutable laws of physics at work in the universe; we may not understand all of them, but they're there. Yesterday,
Scott Ostler's column gave us his "unbreakable rules of sports". I highly recommend it.
Finally, Norman Chad writes a syndicated column every Monday called The Couch Slouch. He was describing the weekend's TV coverage of the NFL games and
had this comment on the FOX pregame team:
"Terry Bradshaw - in bean cap, gloves, bright scarf and overcoat – looked like a cat burglar in search if a cathouse."
I knew he looked "unusual" but that description never entered my mind!
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon