Jeff Van Gundy said that the NBA refs were responding to instructions from the league to keep an eye on Yao Ming in the playoff series because Mark
Cuban had sent the league a tape as the basis of a complaint against Yao. If reports are anywhere near close to accurate, Cuban sends tapes to the
league with complaints about once a fortnight and usually he gets fined for his comments.
It isn't as if the NBA Front Office and Cuban are longtime "best buds". But in this case, David Stern responded with a $100K fine for Van Gundy, which
is way above what anyone would have expected, and then Stern said that after the playoffs were over, an investigation would be undertaken to determine
who if anyone said any such thing to Van Gundy. And Stern said that if Van Gundy kept this up, Stern would hit him with a lifetime ban.
Memo to David Stern: Aren't you overreacting just a tad here? Only a rabid Houston Rockets' fan might have agreed with Van Gundy in the first place,
but now... Maybe you need to cut back on the caffeine just a bit.
While he was getting all pumped up to squash Jeff Van Gundy, David Stern had a reflective and sensibly pragmatic moment in an exchange with the Boston
Globe. He was asked about stories that the NBA might hold its All-Star Game in Las Vegas and if it was a good idea to do that because of the
association with gambling that will necessarily be made.
Stern's remarks were anything but emotional here: "Gambling is not a stigma. Gambling is a state-run, state-sponsored fine business that America seems
to be embracing as never before."
This must be a moment in time for league commissioners to get into the news. Bud Selig sent a letter to the MLB Players Association saying that he
proposes increased penalties for people who test positive for steroids and banned substances. With a straight face I'm sure, Selig called for a "three
strikes and your out policy" in baseball; I wonder if he thought that one up all by himself. A first time test failure would carry a 50 game
suspension; a second failure would cost 100 games; a third time offender gets a lifetime ban from the game. You have to give Selig some credit here
for reading the mood of the Congress on these matters, but I do wonder why this matter needed such theatrics. Why did he send a letter to the Donald
Fehr? Is he over his cell phone minutes for the month and afraid of overages? Why did the letter get into the press? Couldn't this all have been done
constructively with a phone call to Fehr and a phone call to Congressional Committee Chairman?
Pro rasslin' makes the sports news once again with two unrelated items. In the North Carolina state high school regional wrestling tournament, Colby
Hardin won a match over Reid Flair - who is the son of pro rassler, Ric Flair. Then Hardin did an imitation of Ric Flair's "strut-walk" and the two
wrestlers re-engaged in some extra curricular activities. Wrestlers from both schools and a few fans joined in the melee. The only thing missing here
was someone taking a chair and whacking someone over the head with it...
Believe it or not, Hulk Hogan was a headliner in a pay-per-view rasslin event last weekend that originated in Manchester, NH. If Hogan decides to run
for President in 2008, this event could be considered the beginning of his New Hampshire campaign. He's been in the rasslin' business for so long, I
figured he was about 65 years old; but in fact, he's only 51. According to an article I read, Hogan has already had knee and hip replacement surgery.
This match is not supposed to be the beginning of a "comeback" but one never knows. The article also said that Hogan had recently been inducted into
the World Wrestling Hall of Fame. I had no idea there was a Pro Rasslin' Hall of Fame. I'll have to put that on my list of places to visit some day.
It'll go right below the Quilting Hall of Fame.
I mentioned last week sometime that John Rocker had begun a new phase of his career with the Long Island Ducks. Well, in his first appearance with the
Ducks, he was rather awful. Rocker came into the game in the ninth inning with the score tied against the Bridgeport Bluefish. He proceeded to walk
four batters to earn the loss. Somewhere along the way, Rocker lost more than his pitching abilities. He seems to have forgotten that his job is to be
the "closer" and that if you lose the ability to spell correctly and omit the letter "c", you become the "loser"...
The Colorado Rockies bullpen has been anything but stellar this season - albeit against significantly better opponents than the Bridgeport Bluefish.
In their first 21 games, the Rockies have had the lead in 17 of them. In their first 21 games, the Rockies record was 6-15. That record projects to
about 110 losses for the season and if the Rockies can't even win half of the games in which they held a lead at some point along the way, they could
easily achieve that level of futility.
A couple of friends asked why I haven't had anything snarky to say about the British golf officials changing their qualification rules to allow for
the possible entry of Michele Wie into the British Open. The reason is very simple; I don't care if she plays in the British Open or not. As I
understand it, the concept of an "open" in golf means that there are qualification criteria set and the people who meet those criteria get to play in
the event. OK, so if Michele Wie or any other golfer meets those criteria, they should be allowed to play. This is no big deal.
Do you recall about ten years ago when one of the golf announcers on CBS was fired for a comment about women golfers and how their breasts got in the
way of their swing? I wonder what he might have to say about this news. There is a men's golf tour at the moment sponsored by the National Golf
Association and Hooters Restaurants. You guessed it; Hooters is going to sponsor a women's tour this winter with about a dozen events in Florida. I
have no idea what that erstwhile golf announcer is doing these days, but that news ought to give him a smile.
Finally, you must have seen the photo of the buffaloes (bison?) jumping over the tennis net. Other than the Paris Hilton sex tape, that has to be the
photographic cliche of the decade. The owner of the herd said he would probably send them to a slaughterhouse to preclude another "jailbreak" and here
is Peter Schmuck's take on that announcement in the Baltimore Sun:
"The bison make SportsCenter's Top Ten Plays of the Day, and the next thing you know they're talking about putting them on the menu at the Oregon
Grill. They're going to go from Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame to Wolfgang Puck's 15 minutes of flame."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright the Sports Curmudgeon