Happy Groundhog Day. May those mangy flea-infested rodents go back in the ground and stay there for a long time... No, that does not mean I want
winter to stretch on for a while; it means I don't like mangy flea-infested rodents.
There is a story reported on ESPN that Rudy Tomjanovich is going to resign as coach of the Lakers and that the basis for the resignation is only
"partially" health-related but that the putative health-problem is not a recurrence of the bladder cancer that he has been fighting for the past few
years. I heard one talking head opine that the frustration of coaching the Lakers this season has been too much for Tomjanovich; I have difficulty
believing that since he coached some Houston teams that were far worse than this one and who didn't make the playoffs and never really had a shot at
the playoffs. If the coaching this year is that frustrating, then this Lakers team must be a genuine pack of miscreants.
Two rumors are floating about who will replace Tomjanovich should he resign. One is Jim Calhoun from UConn. I recall that he recently signed a
long-term contract extension there; and according to the university website, he is going on 63 years old. I don't know Jim Calhoun from a rubber duck,
but I have to wonder why someone who is so successful at what he is doing and is in such a comfortable place in his life would want to strike out on
an entirely new endeavor at age 63. The other rumor out there - as reported on ESPN's Mike and Mike In The Morning program, is Phil Jackson. I find
that idea to be way beyond bizarre given the soap opera that went down in LA for all of last season and then into the off-season.
Another reason that Calhoun might not jump at the opportunity to coach the Lakers could be the example of Mike Montgomery - his former college
coaching colleague - out at Golden State. Montgomery left Stanford where he had a stable and successful program and the coaching equivalent of a
"tenured position" at Stanford. Golden State has already lost more games (32) in the first three months of this season than Montgomery lost at
Stanford in five or six typical years. In fact, the Warriors just completed the month of January with a record of 1-14. Not only is that a horrendous
record, it means that they played about every other night for a whole month. Stanford played less than 30 games - leading up to the tournament - in
about 3.5 months. So, the NBA schedule is not a big selling point either. You have to think that every once in a while, Mike Montgomery wakes up in
some hotel in some NBA city and staggers to the bathroom and looks in the mirror and whacks himself in the forehead and shouts, "What the Hell was I
Oh, the Warriors' record of 1-14 for the month of January did prevent the Knicks from having the worst record for January; so I guess there is that
silver lining in the cloud. The New York Knicks are a mess and unless the league engineers a way for them to offload a bunch of their contracts, they
are going to be a mess for a while. Maybe the Knicks need to find a way to move Stephon Marbury. Because it seems as if teams get better after Marbury
plays for them for a while and then moves on. As examples, see Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix...
Looking at the NBA standings this morning, I am still in awe of just how mediocre the Eastern Conference is. The Washington Wizards are tied for the
third best record in the Conference even having lost their last three games. If the playoffs were to begin today, there would be TWO teams in the
playoffs in the East with sub-.500 records. That is bad enough, but one of those teams would be seeded third as the "champion" of the Atlantic
Division. When/if you finish the season as a division “champion” and your record is below .500, you should be referred to as the division
"survivor"; there is nothing champion-like about a season in which you lost more times than you won.
The latest twist in the bizarre story about the Nashville Rhythm co-owner trying to fire the team coach on the court during game is this. Co-owner,
Sally Anthony, was taken to a hospital after someone called "911" to report that Anthony had tried to "hurt herself". According to reports, Anthony
"took some pills" and "mixed them with alcohol" and cut her arms with scissors. According to quotes from the "911 transcript", the person making the
call was asked if Anthony had tried to commit suicide. The answer was, "I don't know if she really meant to kill herself. She definitely meant to hurt
herself." Anthony denied this story and said that she tripped and fell and her arm was bitten by a dog. You make the call...
When I read these reports on Ms. Anthony, I was reminded of an item I read about a week ago that said that Alonzo Spellman is out of jail and is
contemplating a comeback in the NFL. I use the word "comeback" here in the literal sense that he would return to the league because he has had no
accomplishments in the NFL sufficient to regard as noteworthy enough for him to try to emulate one more time. Spellman suffers from bipolar disorder
and has been an off-the-field problem child wherever he has been in the NFL. He spent time in a federal prison for threatening passengers on a
commercial airplane flight. He is now 33 years old. Given the recent events surrounding the shooting of Barret Robbins and the problems Spellman has
encountered with bipolar disorder combined with Spellman's history, I don't think there will be a stampede to his agent's office. Then again, Danny
Boy Snyder rushed to "beat the pack" to sign Darryl Russell, so you never know...
I have a problem with the Sammy Sosa trade to Baltimore. According to reports, Sosa gave up - voluntarily - an option year on his contract, which to a
dummy like me seems as if he "left some money on the table". The Players Association approved that deal. But I recall that when Alex Rodriguez wanted
to voluntarily relinquish some of his money in his contract to try to get out of Texas and go to Boston, the union would not approve of that. Now I
don't believe that the union loves Sammy Sosa and hates Alex Rodriguez, so there has to be a much better explanation. And I don't want to hear any of
the Oliver Stone conspiracy theories that the union was protecting George Steinbrenner from the Red Sox getting A-Rod.
Finally, Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz is well known as a no-nonsense individual who does not mince words. He was talking about Jazz rookie, Kris
Humphries, who played one year at the University of Minnesota and then went to the NBA:
"This is not like college basketball. He's got a lot of things to learn. He's young and if he works at it, he can do well. But sometimes, young guys
think shaking hands is work."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon
[Edited on 2/5/05 by SportzWriter]