I remember back to my high school and college days - point of reference for everyone here, TVs were black and white - when I had to read certain works
of literature that were deemed to be classics by the teacher/professor in front of the class. Some were good; some were so dreadful that there are no
words to describe them. But my mind flashed back to a few of those works last evening as I heard on SportsCenter that Patrick Ewing Jr. was
transferring to Georgetown to play for John Thompson III.
The first classic that came to mind was Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; the last time there was a Ewing and a Thompson at Georgetown, there were
three visits to the Final Four. Talk about setting yourselves up, gentlemen; you can't do that this time because Ewing Jr. only has two years of
eligibility left. Next, I remembered Thomas Wolfe's You Can't Go Home Again and wondered if these guys were out to see if that is really the case. And
I recalled Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken and have to admit that these two gentlemen are going down the path less traveled...
For their final game of the NBA season, the Atlanta Hawks held Fan Appreciation Night. Given the way they've played for the past few seasons, it is
amazing that they still have a fan, but that's not the point. The promotion they used to demonstrate the team's appreciation was to hold a raffle and
the prizes were game-worn jerseys. Say what? Unless these were game-worn jerseys from visiting teams, what value is there in having them? Before
anyone tells me about e-bay auctions - which I do not participate in - I know that you can sell certain memorabilia there for some serious coinage.
But I don't think that a game worn jersey from Pedrag Drobnjak or Boris Diaw is going to bring in enough money that the seller will be considering
setting up a charitable foundation. I suspect the Hawks' fan base would really appreciate a season with 40 wins more than about anything else; it has
been a while.
I wonder if the Atlanta fans will be harsh on Michael Vick (a.k.a. Ron Mexico) when he shows up for work. Obviously, there is no way to know yet if
the allegations made by the woman suing him for giving her the herpes virus are true but in terms of PR and image, the filing of the court papers did
a lot of damage. At the very least, it opens Vick and the Falcons up to lines related to the need to spread defenses and not viruses. It is standard
practice for athletes/celebrities to use a nom de guerre when registering at a hotel to avoid crank calls and other kinds of pestering. If Michael
Vick ever did use the name Ron Mexico, that one isn't going to work again and he'll need a new moniker. Here's piece of advice; don't even think about
using Peter Pustule.
And staying with an Atlanta sports theme for a moment longer, I read that John Rocker said that he has matured since his less than politically correct
remarks about the kinds of people who live in NYC. He says he's grown up and he figures that the people in NYC are sophisticated enough to notice that
and to appreciate that and to accept him for who he is now and not for what he said years ago. Personally, I think that demonstrates a large amount of
naiveté on his part, but that's just my opinion, But after I watched Dan Kolb butcher a couple of save opportunities about as badly as a closer on a
contending team could possibly butcher them, I wonder if the Atlanta Braves might try to find out if Rocker has actually matured...?
Watch for Detroit Tiger highlights on SportsCenter - not because the Tigers are going anywhere; they aren't. Watch for Detroit Tiger highlights on
SportsCenter because you need to catch a glimpse of Ivan Rodriguez. This is "The Artist Formerly Known As Pudge". For whatever reasons, this guy looks
like he shed a minimum of 25 lbs for this year and if you told me that he is 40 lbs lighter than last year, I would not argue for even a moment. His
new nickname ought to be "Detroit Slim".
I heard that Sam Cassell says he wants to be back with the Timberwolves next year and that he expects to be. Presumably, this is somewhat in response
to the Wolves' owner saying that bringing in Cassell and Spreewell last year was a "failed experiment". Given the lackadaisical way Cassell often
played this year and his "I don't get enough respect" posturing earlier on, I think he has almost no chance to be with the Wolves next year. But lost
in all this chatter and lost in the fact the Kevin McHale is taking time off to contemplate if he wants to continue to be involved in GM duties and
lost in the amazement that Kevin Garnett will actually not be in the playoffs this year is a potentially tragic situation. Latrell Spreewell will not
be collecting any playoff bonuses from his contract or any added game checks. His family must be very unhappy that they will have to go on an austere
diet of rice and beans in order that they don't go hungry...
Right after the NFL announced its schedule for next year, various teams and coaches began lamenting just how hard they had it next year. Of course,
everyone knows that the NFL is out to get [fill in the name of a team and/or owner and/or coach here] and so that's why they gave them this ridiculous
schedule. If a team gets to play on Sunday night, that is not an opportunity for national exposure; it is a dastardly plot to shorten their next
practice week. Since the AFC West plays the NFC East this year, there will be a lot of transcontinental travel every week and of course the trips
[your team] has to take are far more burdensome than the ones that visiting teams need to take to come to [your stadium]. But the most inappropriate
bleating came from Jags' owner, Wayne Weaver. The Jags did not get a Monday night game this year. Of course, he takes that as an affront and not a
blessing because they have no short practice weeks. He said, "As a small-market team struggling to fill our stadium and as a team on the rise, we felt
we deserved consideration for a Monday night game."
Memo to Wayne Weaver:
1. You put that team in Jacksonville. You knew it was a small market. You knew it was not a sports hotbed. That's your problem, not the NFL's.
2. How do you know that the Jaguars weren't considered for a Monday night game and then found to be not worthy after due consideration?
3. Didn't the NFL just hold an event in Jacksonville recently giving you worldwide exposure and promotional opportunity? Or was the Super Bowl played
on the moon?
4. Maybe your struggle to fill your stadium and the NFL's assessment go hand in hand. Maybe your team isn't on MNF because it generates no ratings
because no one is particularly interested in them and that's why you are covering up 10,000 seats to make your crowds look good on TV.
Finally, an observation from Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle related to the NFL Draft that happens this weekend:
"Maurice Clarett, in a private workout on plastic grass, lowers his Combine 40 time by .05 of a second. NFL scouts tell me Clarett is now considered
fast enough to be a high draft pick among placekick holders."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon