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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on the NBA, Boston College, Minneapolis/St. Paul plus more.

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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 05:47 PM
I tuned into the TNT game between the Lakers and the Mavs. It was very confusing seeing the Lakers in powder blue uniforms and that disorientation may have contributed to the Mavs' defeat last night.

Whatever. But the happening of the Lakers playing the Mavs in Dallas brought to mind the Mark Cuban commentary on the Kobe Bryant arrest almost two years ago and how that arrest and the swirl of publicity around it would be good for business in the NBA. Now that the Kobe Bryant incident is over and done with, why haven't we heard from the always loquacious and never in doubt Mr. Cuban with some hard data to back up his assertion? I have this feeling that if he had any evidence that tied increased business to that incident he would have had it out in the public domain - and attached irrevocably to his name - about 2 hours after the civil suit had been settled. 'Nuff said.

Looking at the NBA standings this morning, I noticed that there might - remember I only said, "Might" - be an interesting race developing. With just over 20 games left to play in the season, the Lakers are a mere 4.5 games ahead of the Clippers. Can the Clippers catch the Lakers? What would you call "Showtime" if it became the second best team in LA?

In college basketball yesterday, the Boston College Eagles got bounced from the Big East tournament by eighth seeded West Virginia. BC trailed 44-22 at the half and tried a furious rally that fell short by six points in the end. Just a week ago, BC Athletic Director, Gene DeFilippo, got his shorts in a knot when Big East Commissioner, Mike Tranghese, presented the conference championship trophy to UConn even though UConn and BC finished in a tie in the regular season standings. DeFilippo called this act "petty" and said that it was done with malice because BC is jumping from the Big East to the ACC next year. Slow down there, hoss. You mean that these people who begged you and your school not to jump ship and even went to court - unsuccessfully - to block it might still be unhappy about it? I would never have thought of it that way. Glad you pointed it out.

Actually, I suspect that he is even more anxious about not getting that trophy than he is letting on. Given the move to the ACC next year, it is going to be a LONG time before BC gets another regular season conference championship trophy for its display case. BC overachieved this year and had its best season in quite a while but it still was not as good as the top three teams in the ACC.

Just about everyone is now taking the same position I did on the Congressional hearings on steroids except for the Congressthings who are getting much desired face time on TV now talking about why they want to hold those hearings which in reality are only excuses for them to get face time on TV. Some folks are wondering about how certain players might be put in a real bind if they had to testify under oath before Congress in light of the ongoing BALCO criminal investigation. That could be dicey but I'm sure there are legal paths through that thicket. However, I can cut through all that right here and right now for Sammy Sosa. This will save him a ton of cash in legal fees and as always, I offer the advice free of charge and with no obligation on his part.

All Sammy has to do is look to the past and dust off an explanation that has already proven to be effective. All he has to do is to say that he used steroids only in batting practice to give the fans who came out to the games early a good show. Hey, it worked for the corked bat incident...

Speaking of Congressional involvement with sports, the Professional Boxing Amendments Act of 2005 was introduced by John McCain and it has been sent to the full Senate for a vote. This bill is identical to the Professional Boxing Amendments Act of 2004 that McCain introduced and got passed by the Senate only to see it die in the House. Among other things, it creates a federal regulatory "entity" to oversee boxing. Folks, I've said for years that boxing is moving inexorably toward pro rasslin' and that its status as a major sport is so far in the rear view mirror that it has actually gone over the horizon. There is not much you can do to make boxing less attractive. At the same time, a federal regulatory "entity" ain't gonna make it much better either. Please consider that we had longstanding federal regulatory "entities" - note the plural here - for the savings and loan business. So, how'd that work out?

Is there something strange in the drinking water in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that only affects people who run sports teams and franchises? If not, then there is an amazing confluence of goofiness in that geographical area. Mike Tice has admitted scalping his Super Bowl tickets and says it was wrong and that he is in trouble and expects a hefty fine. Most people put Vikings' owner Red McCombs in the "buffoon category". At the University of Minnesota, there was the outrageous academic fraud situation when Clem Haskins was the coach and virtually simultaneously, the women's basketball coach, Cheryl Littlejohn, left or was dismissed under rather acrimonious circumstances. And let's not forget that Timberwolves owner, Glenn Taylor, and GM, Kevin McHale, sat out one-year suspensions for deliberately acting to circumvent the NBA salary cap in order to keep hold of Joe Smith. Joe "Freakin'" Smith for Heaven's sake! What in the name of Bud Grant is going on in that part of the world?

Glen Davis died yesterday at age 80. He will be buried at West Point where he starred as a running back. A most amazing statistical record still belongs to him. For the entirety of the 1945 college football season, Davis averaged 11.5 yards per carry. That remains an NCAA record. For his career, he averaged a mere 8.3 yards per carry. RIP

At the other end of the running back spectrum would seem to be Larry Ned. Did I hear someone say you never heard of Larry Ned? Maybe this is the reason. Ned is a running back out of San Diego State two years ago who was drafted by the Vikings - hmmm...that drinking water problem again? He played mostly special teams for two seasons getting zero carries and catching one pass in 19 games. This off-season he was released by the Vikings and claimed off waivers by the Arizona Cardinals. This would seem to be a good place for someone like Ned to land since Emmitt Smith retired and there is room for someone to go in there and impress the coaching staff and get a shot as a back-up RB for an NFL team. It was March 3 when Ned was claimed by the Cards.

On March 4 - the very next day - Ned was traversing the Phoenix airport and as he cleared security, he noticed a laptop computer sitting unattended. It belonged to another passenger who was going through the security inspection process but Ned decided to "appropriate it". Once he made off with the goods, Ned must have gotten a flash of insight that there aren't a lot of places to hide in an airport waiting area and so he tried to hide in the stall of a men's room where he was apprehended and arrested with "the appropriated goods". The Cards say he never even made it to their offices to sign his contract; and of course, they released him the day of his arrest. No need to administer the MENSA screening test here...

Finally, here's a comment from Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post about Mike Tice and the ticket-scalping event:

"So the NFL suspects Vikings coach Mike Tice scalped super Bowl tickets. Now there's a blockbuster. If they busted everybody in the NFL who did that, they wouldn't be able to rustle up a game of five-card stud."

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

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon


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