You've probably heard about the school in Massachusetts who has proposed that the Yankees and the Red Sox shake hands before their opening game as a
gesture of sportsmanship. I don't think this is a great idea and I don't think this is a horrible idea; I think it does not matter a bit.
But I do have a problem with the school leaders who have pushed this idea forward and into the news. It seems that some of the kids at the school had
gotten into altercations on the playground based on whether or not the kids were Yankees' fans or Red Sox fans. And in the process of resolving those
contretemps, the adults hit upon this idea as a gesture of sportsmanship on the part of the athletes, which would be done "for the kids". I am
immediately suspicious about things done "for the kids" because they are usually symbolic and feckless, but that's not the point here. These adults in
charge of the school are now transferring the source of the problem - fighting in the schoolyard - from the combatants to some major league baseball
players. Excuse me!
Memo to School Authorities: The kids are the ones behaving badly. The kids are in your school where you and their parents are nominally responsible
for teaching them things about social behavior and non-violent conflict resolution. This is not the fault of the Yankees and/or the Red Sox. It
demonstrates that you have been less than fully successful in your role as educators in the socialization of these children. Thank you for your
Schoolyard fights are one thing but fights involving soccer matches are quite another thing. Soccer fans really know how to take anti-social behavior
"to the next level." In Mali recently, some rather upset and less than pacific fans stormed the field after Mali gave up a goal to trail Togo 2-1;
they hadn't lost the game; they were merely down a goal. The game had to be ended as the riot spilled out of the stadium where cars and other
structures were attacked, damaged and destroyed. Interestingly, the rioters' anger was not directed at the referees nor was it focused mainly on the
team from Togo. What did the rioters want? They wanted to get their hands on Frederic Kanoaute and Mamadou Bakayoko who just happen to be the star
players on the Mali team. The rioters said they wanted “to kill them”; think about that; they wanted to kill the star players on their own home
team because they had fallen behind in a soccer game. Somehow, I don't think that a symbolic handshake among all the players would have done much good
here. Instead, all it might have accomplished would have been to give the crowd a chance to get their hands on Kanoaute and Bakayoko.
In Slovenia, about three dozen German soccer fans went on a rampage and destroyed shops and cars and trashed a large hotel the day before Germany
played Slovenia in an exhibition soccer match. Then when the game actually happened, another dozen German fans were arrested for "throwing flares,
ripping out seats and tossing them in the stadium." Oh, Germany won the match so the outcome of the game had nothing to do with this behavior.
Here's an idea to solve the violence problem here. Maybe we should get the fans to do a symbolic handshake before and after the games and have the
players observe that act...
Since I'm in such a public-spirited mood this morning, let me alert any golfers out there that they have only today and tomorrow to haul themselves
out to Pebble Beach to play a round of golf there before the price goes up. Starting on Friday - April Fool's Day - the cost of one round of golf at
Pebble Beach will go up to $425.
Mike Ganis writes a blog called Crier's Corner that is carried on sportspages.com; he focuses a lot attention to sports gambling. Since I knew he
would have the info in hand and it would save me the trouble of trying to reconstruct it, I asked Mike what would have been the result if someone had
played the underdog in all 60 of the NCAA tournament games thus far. Here's the answer; playing the dog in every game has a record of 35-23-2. At $110
per game with a line of -110, that would be a profit in hand so far of $970. Mike also told me that since the NCAA tournament went to 64 teams (20
years ago) the underdog dog has covered just over 55% of the time meaning that strategy would have been profitable over that period of time.
By the way, there is a college basketball team out there who played everyone in the Final Four. Iowa played these teams a total of six times and had a
2-4 record against this crew. Recently, I praised Kansas for their out of conference schedule; Iowa did not give themselves a walk in the park
scheduling Louisville and UNC out of conference in addition to Texas, UNC-Greensboro, Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Texas Tech. Kudos to the Hawkeyes.
They must be planning some kind of surprise Atlanta Falcons' reunion in Hawaii and the "advance team" is being assembled there to set things up. Jerry
Glanville will be the defensive coordinator for the University of Hawaii next season joining June Jones' staff. Both had stints on the Falcons'
sidelines. This will get Glanville out from behind the microphone on any national radio or TV outlet so I am really happy with this career move for
With the Pistons as the reigning NBA champs and with the Heat holding the best record in the NBA, some people are saying that the Eastern Conference
is not the patsy that it has been made out to be. When I look at my newspaper this morning, I see that the team in the West who would be seeded 8th if
the playoffs began today is seven games over .500 while there are three teams in the Eastern playoffs who have worse records. In fact, the 8th seed in
the East as of today is exactly .500 for the year. So the West teams in the playoffs have amassed better records playing an unbalanced schedule that
makes them play the West teams more often. The teams at the top of the East are competitive with the playoff teams in the West but the East is still
significantly weaker as a conference.
Finally, here is a comment from Utah Jazz coach, Jerry Sloan, about star players getting the benefit of the doubt from NBA officials. Remember that
Sloan played in the NBA for years and has been a coach in Utah since the glaciers last retreated:
"That's the way life is. Miss America gets all the good dates."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon