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Newz Forum: OTHER: the NWFA, the Clippers, NHL and NHLPA talks, the Rockies plus more...

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posted on Apr, 25 2005 @ 12:09 PM
Today we begin with news from Hypocrisy Central, a.k.a. the NCAA. Not only are they considering adding another football game to the season for about 200 universities who play Division 1-A and 1-AA football game while ignoring the impact it will have on the academic and scholarly pursuits of the student-athletes, they are now approving yet another Bowl Game.

That's right; the city of San Diego needs a second Bowl Game. The Holiday Bowl is already in town; last year it gave us that critical match-up between Cal and Texas Tech. Now there will be another game in San Diego played on 22 December and its tentative name is the Poinsettia Bowl. Obviously, given the date of the game, this will be a Bowl Game added to the second or third tier of important games; it may well match up the 7th place team in the MAC with the 5th place team in the WAC. If the MAC and the WAC are involved, I'll just start humming the tune to knick-knack-paddy-whack-give-the-dog-a-bone... The only - and I do mean only - positive thing I can see coming out of this game is that it has such an obvious corporate sponsorship tie-in that it ought to be done already. The Poinsettia Bowl can only be sponsored by 1-800-FLOWERS...

Dwight Perry led his notes column in the Seattle Times yesterday with an item about someone who is anything but a hypocrite. Catherine Masters is the CEO of the National Women's Football Association - a pro football league with women players. She announced with enthusiasm that an Internet sports book will be posting lines on the NWFA games this year. Here is a demonstration of the pragmatism of Ms. Masters:

"We're thrilled about finally getting a way for our fans to bet on these games. In the real world of professional sports, if you don't have a way for your fans to bet on games, you don't get much interest."

[Aside: Is that why the WUSA failed - or is it that women's soccer just isn't that interesting as a spectator sport?]

I can't believe there will be a significant amount of action on these games but Ms. Masters is absolutely right. This is a nod of acceptance of the NWFA from one betting site on the Internet; and if it spreads to other sites and ultimately to the Las Vegas sports books, that would be very beneficial to the league.

In Las Vegas, you can bet on Canadian Football League games; there isn't a flurry of activity on them, but the opportunity is there. So for the CFL, their next step toward a broader presence in the sporting landscape would be for someone to start writing a blog regarding mock drafts for the CFL. These things move ahead in an orderly progression, you know...

Back at the time of the NBA All-Star Game, I said that it was actually possible that the Lakers might finish behind the Clippers; they were ahead of the Clips by about five games at the time. Well, the precincts have all reported in and even with vote counting supervised by the ghosts of Tammany Hall, the Clippers beat out the Lakers by three games. The Lakers limped home losing nine of their last ten games.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers' season cratered and they missed the playoffs yet again this year. The Cavs had the best record in the East earlier this year and were third in the East in February. Their new owner, Dan Gilbert, reportedly tried to slip notes to Paul Silas during games suggesting what the team should do. You can bet that behavior made them best buds; so if that is true, I'm not the least bit surprised that Silas did what he wanted to do and decided what to do on the basis of what he knew Dan Gilbert did not want to do. Firing Silas became inevitable and it was a blockheaded move on the part of this new owner. He paid a huge price for this franchise - more than $300M - and he has exactly one asset, LeBron James. The problem is that his asset's contract runs out in about two years; and if this goof doesn't do a few things right, he'll have a horrid team located in Cleveland with a value of about $29.95 because nothing will be there to tie James to the Cleveland franchise.

If Dan Gilbert proceeds on the path he has chosen so far, he becomes an instant candidate for the NBA prize as Most Meddlesome Owner. At the moment, the Mount Rushmore of Meddlesome Owners includes George Steinbrenner, Danny Boy Snyder, Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban. But Gilbert is a rookie owner who shows real promise here!

It's that potential for Gilbert to break into the Pantheon of Meddlesome Owners that might hinder him in a search for a new coach. Oh sure, he can wave money at some college coach who was a hotshot in some "mid-major overachieving program" and he can get him to sign on. Does the name Tim Floyd ring any bells? How about Lon Krueger or John Calipari? But might not a top shelf NBA coach be just a bit leery of working for an owner who has this short but erratic track record of behavior?

Yesterday, the AP reported that the NHL and the NHLPA met in NY on Tuesday for six hours to "build momentum off talks that began two weeks earlier." Now that sounds just plain silly at first but it may actually be on the mark. Since the season was canceled in February, the sides have met only 5 times meaning they are meeting about once every two weeks anyway. But the encouraging thing here is that the NHL mouthpiece, Bill Daly, said, "The parties have agreed to arrange a more aggressive meeting schedule over the next several weeks in an attempt to move the process forward." So, let me translate this for you:

After losing an entire season over failed labor negotiations, the two sides met for six hours and the result of that meeting is that they will meet more frequently in the future. No promises here about making progress during any of those future meetings, but there is zero chance of making progress without meeting at all. So, maybe this is the first step in the journey of a thousand miles? Chairman Mao Is smiling somewhere in the cosmos...

I read somewhere that the Colorado Rockies will spend 52% of their team payroll on two players this year. Preston Wilson and Todd Helton will make $25.1M between them and the total team payroll is $48M. No wonder the Rockies pitching staff is "suspect".

Lou PIniella recently expressed more than a little frustration and displeasure with the Devil Rays' front office for assembling a team that just cannot be really competitive in the AL East. Last year, the D-Rays won 70 games and that is actually the good news; it happens to be a franchise record for wins in a season! I think I want to bring some solace and comfort to PIniella's obviously troubled psyche and so I'll offer him the words of A.J. Liebling with regard to expectations:

"My favorite period of history was the Middle Ages. If you were born as a serf, you lived as a serf and you died as a serf. There was no false hope."

Finally, with the NFL Draft almost upon us, here is an interesting observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

"Finally, good news for Maurice Clarett: With daylight-saving time, he gets to take 60 minutes off his 40-yard-dash time."

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

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon

[Edited on 4/25/05 by SportzWriter]


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