No. I am not going to do an April Fool spoof issue where I'm all warm and fuzzy for eight paragraphs and then do an about face at the end. The
mountain of April Fool sportswriting was scaled by Sports Illustrated when they did the famous Sidd Finch spoof.
After that, any sports column/article that tries to do better is like a lounge singer doing a rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water or Over The
Rainbow. It is merely a pale imitation, Yesterday, I talked about the Bears and their Skyview Suite with tickets that cost $8K per season. I said I
could duplicate that in my living room for the same price. My #1 son is living in Chicago whilst attending grad school there and sent me a note
"Actually, you can one up the Bears. You'll have the extra wide seats, cupholders and upscale buffet, but people won't be forced to watch the Bears.
You should sell those seats for $10K apiece."
OK folks. He's got a point. The price is $20K in Curmudgeon Central. Why twice the price? Well here you get to see 17 Sunday's of football instead of
only 8. I'm tossing in the 17th week as my special gift to you...
Maurice Clarett held his personal workout for NFL scouts at his high school yesterday after he completely tanked the combine workout. Let me
demonstrate my ability at spin doctoring; I've been taking an online course in confabulating and I want to see if I've made any progress.
Maurice Claret improved his time in the 40-yard dash yesterday from 4.72 seconds to 4.67 seconds. In addition to showing added speed, which translates
into long runs, he finished his workout and didn't walk out and quit even once.
I read several times in the Dallas papers that the Texas Rangers were sort of optimistic about Chan Ho Park this year. Given what he has done for the
team since signing his $65M contract a couple of years ago, I imagine that the baseline for optimism there would be three consecutive scoreless
innings. So I went to look at his spring training stats and saw that he had an ERA of 5.15 in 19 1/3 innings. Well, given how bad Park has been, that
might actually be cause for optimism. But then there were other rumors in Dallas that the Rangers wanted to trade Alfonso Soriano to the Devil Rays
for pitching help. Tampa Bay? Pitching help? And then yesterday, the Rangers acquired Matt Riley from the Orioles. Riley has been the darling prospect
for the Orioles for eight years and has never amounted to anything more than a mound of moldy mushrooms. Riley was not going to be in the rotation
this year - yet again - probably due to his 11.57 ERA this spring. Riley has also had some "off-field issues" and exhibited one of those infamous "bad
decisions" when he threw out a bottle of ephedra-containing medicine from the locker of Steve Bechler after Bechler died. And remember, the Rangers
are sort of optimistic about Chan Ho Park this year...
Someone sent me a note yesterday asking why I had no comment on the recent revelations about steroid use in the NFL. The reason is that it should be
no surprise to anyone that steroids are used there. The NFL has a testing program and it catches a few people a year, but to think that players there
do not use steroids, which help them put on muscle mass and help them heal more quickly from hurts and injuries, is incredibly naive. I don't remember
if it was Bud Selig or Don Fehr who told the Congressthings a couple of weeks ago that once baseball's testing program had a chance to take effect, it
would "eradicate steroid use". Yeah right. No testing program will do that. Look at the one done by the Olympics and the World Anti-Doping Agency with
all of its draconian penalties; it hasn't eradicated drug usage and it won't. Anyone who believes that a testing program will do that might also
believe that Rick Majerus will start a new career as a fitness guru and personal trainer or that Tonya Harding will replace Judith Martin as Miss
Manners. Two words here: Not ... happening...
Here's an NCAA Tournament trend for you. UNC is the highest scoring team in the nation; they are averaging over 88 points per game. That may sound
like a good thing but it may be a jinx. The last 41 teams that led the nation in scoring did not win the tournament. The last team to hold both titles
was Loyola of Chicago when they beat Cincinnati back in 1963. Like they always say, defense wins championships...
I read in the Indianapolis Star that Dr. Myles Brand earned $835,531 for the 03/04 school year as president of the NCAA. In the world of athletics,
there are myriad examples of people earning sums of money that are far beyond any contribution they might make to society even if you factor in the
entertainment they provide. This salary number is not huge in comparison to the salaries for athletes and coaches today, but it is an awful lot to pay
for an animatronic suit dummy. That is more than the salary of any university president at any public institution in the country. If I were Dictator
of the Universe, there'd be a whole lotta cost-cuttin' goin' on in the NCAA starting right now!
The last week of April this year is designated as National TV Turnoff Week. Why not? It's not nearly as bad as National Plant a Turnip in Your
Butt-Crack Week. Anyway, I think that the NCAA and ESPN are helping us to prepare for that week with the presentation of the NCAA Women's Basketball
Tournament. The TV ratings are staring up at the number 1.0 and one indication of the minimalist audience for the distaff tourney is the attendance at
the games. More than half the games played on neutral courts had live attendance figures of 5,000 or less.
A major problem is that there is no equity in women's basketball; the good teams are so much better than the second-tier teams that these are
uninteresting games until at least the Round of Eight and maybe even until the final game. The men's tournament has had 61 games so far (remember the
play-in game); only six games have had 20 point margins or more. In the first 56 games of the women's tournament, there have been 25 games decided by
20 or more points and the average margin of victory was over 17 points. Translation: These games are BORING!!
Conspiracy theorists would have had a field day with the Tennessee win over Rutgers in the women's tournament earlier this week. Clearly, the Lady
Vols and Coach Pat Summitt are "the story" in the tournament. In this game - which the Lady Vols won by 10 points - Rutgers shot 8-13 from the foul
line. Tennessee was 29-35 from the foul line. That's right; Tennessee made 21 more foul shots and won by 10. At one point in the first half, Rutgers
had committed 10 fouls when Tennessee was whistled for their first foul of the game. Coach Summitt and the bench erupted in protest at the call which
would have almost been classified as a mugging had it happened in the parking lot of the arena instead of on the floor. Did someone want to be sure
Tennessee advanced in the tournament? I'll bet there are more than a couple of Rutgers fans who are sure that is the case.
Finally, a comment from Mike Lupica in the NY Daily News about the Arizona/Illinois game last weekend in the men's tournament:
"When Arizona started dribbling out the clock even though they were down a point against Illinois, I thought maybe Andy Reid had drawn up their last
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
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