When last I looked, the Winter Olympics were unfolding in Turin and the ratings on NBC were unraveling. That seems to have continued. In a story on
the front page of the sports section of the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago, they talked about how Johnny Weir finished fifth in the figure
skating event after a disastrously bad final program. The article described his performance in this way:
'His program wasn't filled with errors; it had holes. Massive ones.'
This is not like the Washington Post where the sports section constantly tries to show that the newspaper that gave us Woodward and Bernstein and
brought down a presidency also has a soft side that can justify the actions of goons and thugs no matter what they may be. Weir said that his
biorhythms were off and he could not feel his aura; the Post quoted him as saying, 'I didn't feel into the ice.' Well, that's the problem right
Memo to Johnny Weir:
You're supposed to feel on the ice not in the ice. Trying to get into the ice leads to falling on your kiester.
Later we learned just what it was that upset Weir so much and got his biorhythms out of sorts. The bus that was to take him from his residence to the
arena changed its schedule and that flummoxed him so badly he couldn't pull it back together. Someone pointed out that it would have been a mere 10
minute walk for Weir to get from his residence to the skating venue but he couldn't risk making that walk in his swan outfit. After all, he didn't
know if it was swan-hunting season in Turin...
Scott Ostler had a great comment in the San Francisco Chronicle about the appeal of curling as a sport:
'You never hear it in the same sentence with 'collective bargaining agreement'.'
I wonder how the marketing geniuses at Nike are dealing with the potential return on investment that they will be getting from their hyping of Bode
Miller. This may be the biggest flop related to expectations since Ryan Leaf. Bode took his abject failure in stride demonstrating that his
self-absorption is truly Olympic in class. Said Bode, 'It has been an awesome two weeks. I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level.' To
quote Bugs Bunny, 'What a maroon!'
When the US hockey team failed to win a medal, Mike Modano blamed it all on the players having to make their own travel reservations for the trip to
Turin. And then he used that same scheduling flexibility to hop on a plane and leave town the day before the final meeting of the team in Turin.
Memo to Mike Modano:
I am a Luddite and even I can manage to use Travelocity or an airline website to get tickets and hotel reservations to
cities in the developed world. Now if you were going to Kyrgyzstan and had to reserve a couple of yurts in some one-camel-town where there was also
access to good kosher deli food, that might be a different story...
Before I leave the Olympics alone for a while, I want to offer - free of charge of course - a suggestion for the next demonstration sport in the
summer games. The Olympics need to attract new audience demographics; the ratings show that to be the case. So, how about synchronized fly
I notice that the World Baseball Classic is underway and that the first four contests in Japan have not exactly been a howling success. The first
four games there drew only 14,000 per contest. Tommy LaSorda was in Japan for ceremonial duties as the ambassador for the WBC as appointed by
Hizzoner the Commish, Bud Selig. At least Selig had the good sense not to name LaSorda as the game's 'ambassador at large' because that would have
unleashed a torrent of 'fat jokes' to rival the Johnstown flood.
Sticking with baseball, it now seems official that Sammy Sosa will not be starting the season playing in the major leagues. Only time will tell if
that 'retirement' decision sticks. I've seen all kinds of analyses of Sosa's home run production and how it correlates to his amazing increase in
size during the late 1990s and how it declined once drug and steroid usage came under scrutiny. I don't know if any of that is relevant but here is
an analysis that seems interesting to me. In June 2003, Sammy Sosa used a corked bat in a game against the Devil Rays. There isn't any doubt about
that one. For the two and a half season prior to that game, Sosa hit .306 with 119 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .650. Ladies and
gentlemen, those are impressive numbers. In the two and a half seasons since that corked bat incident, Sosa has hit .251 with 83 home runs and had a
slugging percentage of .490. Talk about the bottom falling out of the market...
Since I mentioned the Devil Rays in the last paragraph, I have to be sure you know that the team's motto/slogan for the 2006 season is, 'Rebuilding
the Dream'. If the truth in advertising folks ever get hold of this one, it will have to be changed to 'Reliving the Nightmares'.
Finally, since Nike has invested so heavily in Bode Miller maybe we should look in on some of their other investment properties courtesy of Dwight
Perry of the Seattle Times:
'If the University of Nike, er Oregon, is looking for a sister school, teams representing the all women's Converse College in Spartanburg SC are known
as the Converse All-Stars.
'It's just coincidental, athletic director Margaret Moore told the Charleston Post and Courier. We adopted that name in the 1980s, but we don't get
any money from the shoe company.'
But dont get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...