I got a note from a reader yesterday asking me if I had sworn off comments about pro rasslin'; the note informed me that Wrestlemania is this weekend
and I had not said anything about it. There's a reason for that; I didn't know Wrestlemania was this weekend because I really haven't paid any
attention to pro rasslin' for about 30 years. When I comment about it here, it is because I saw some thing in the sports world that ties to something
in pro rasslin'. But since someone asked...
I did some searching and I found out that one of the participants on the card this weekend will be the woman whose spaghetti strap broke on the 'Go
Daddy commercials' during the Super Bowl. She will be competing in a 'pillow fight' with another woman rassler; odds are that her garment will not
suffer such a malfunction in the ring. The pay-per-view price for this event will be $50 and more than one million purchases are expected. More
frightening to me is a report that tickets to see this event
in Chicago are available for purchase on StubHub.com for $1000 a seat. That has to be one of the signs of the apocalypse, no?
Also this weekend, Don King will put on a boxing special for Showtime. One of the myriad heavyweight champions of the world, Lamon Brewster, will
defend whatever title he has against Sergei 'The White Wolf' Liakhovich. Here is the way East Side Boxing described 'The White Wolf' on their website
a week ago:
' ...although slow of hand and foot, and slightly thick about the midsection, he still has the ability to punch in combinations... '
Translation: He's kinda fat and very slow, but he does know how to throw one punch after the other. He is probably also able to tie his shoes and
brush his teeth without any retraining intervention.
So we have a weekend where a heavyweight boxing event is on Showtime while the rasslers will pull down in excess of $50M in pay-per-view fees and
folks may actually pay $1000 to see the rasslers. If that does not convince you that you can start shoveling the dirt in on top of boxing's coffin,
then maybe this line attributed to Vince McMahon (Chief Honcho of WWE) might:
'The problem with boxing is that it lacks credibility.'
I know that you've heard about Terrell Owens' upcoming book wherein he will explain to the world 'the rest of the story' and expose what really
happened last year in Philly. I'm not anticipating that this work will gain any recognition in the National Book Awards nor shall it appear on the NY
Times bestseller list for months on end. However, I do wonder if you realize that this is Owens' second foray into the world of literature. A mere
two years ago, Terrell Owens 'wrote' Catch This, a book with this sentence on the front flap of the book jacket:
'And, finally, he lets loose on the free agent scandal that shook the NFL in 2004 and reveals the truth behind the NFL's attempt to deny him free
agency, his fraudulent trade to the Baltimore Ravens, and his ultimate happy landing with the Philadelphia Eagles.'
Just in case anyone wonders why Owens might think of writing a book on last year's sordid tale, maybe this observation from Greg Cote in the Miami
Herald will shed light on the question:
'Terrell Owens is writing a book about the 'real story' of his estrangement from the Eagles. The 'real story' is that a publisher told Owens he could
make a sweet dime by sticking his name on a book ghost-written by somebody else.'
As you also know, the NFL owners added a new rule to curtail excessive end-zone celebrations. Pardon me if I don't get my adrenal glands in overdrive
about this one. Yes, many of the celebrations are scripted and stupid; getting rid of those will not be offensive. And yes, there will be calls made
by officials that may affect game outcomes that boil down to matters of taste. And that's going to be offensive when it happens. But the rule passed
29-3 so it's not as if it was a close call here. The rule bars 'prolonged or excessive celebrations' and it does not allow the player to use any
props in the celebration. And so, may I ask the NFL ever so politely:
Is the 'Lambeau Leap' excessive?
How long must a player be hugged by the fans for it to be 'prolonged'?
Is the stadium wall not a 'prop'?
Here's when you will know that scoring celebrations have done damage to the fabric of society. Imagine an eleven year old in the National Spelling
Bee who correctly spells 'bilharziasis' and then who proceeds to pull a pocket dictionary out of his shoe holds it up to the heavens and shouts at it,
'Who's your daddy?' If that happens, then we'll need much tougher penalties for NFL end-zone celebrations; until then, pardon me if I don't get
overly worked up about the presence or the absence of end-zone celebrations.
Charlie Walters had a note in a column in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press yesterday saying that former Twins' owner, Calvin Griffith, would be among the
2007 Baseball Hall of Fame candidates under consideration by the veteran's screening committee. Griffith is the owner who moved the Washington
Senators (first iteration) out of DC and to Minnesota. I can't wait for Thomas Boswell to weigh in on that candidacy in a column in the Washington
Post. I suspect that Boswell would support Griffith for the Hall of Fame about as avidly as he would support the same nomination for the founder of
Finally, here's another observation from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
'Choosing a successor to retiring commissioner Paul Tagliabue is a big topic at the NFL owners' meetings outside of Orlando. Owners want a leader
just like Tagliabue, but are having trouble finding anyone that dull.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...