I want to thank the several readers who corrected an error for me from yesterday's rant in a civilized and professional tone. To those other folks,
who provided the same correction, let me say that phrases, which may only be rendered marginally printable by paraphrasing them as 'bleeping
sphincter', do not reflect great wisdom upon you. Yesterday, I said that Darren Daulton - out there on the mystical/numerological plane a bit further
than most of us - was the designated catcher for Steve Carlton and that might be where he caught this bout of 'weirdness'.
Actually, Tim McCarver was Steve Carlton's designated catcher for many years in Philly not Daulton. I was wrong and the readers were correct.
However, may I suggest that some of the 'strange utterances' that emanate from McCarver now and again might support my hypothesis of contagious
weirdness? You never know...
Dwight Perry had a great closing item in his column in the Seattle Times yesterday. Looking at the sad condition of the NBA Eastern Conference, he
closed with a 'Q & A':
'Q: What do you call a 37-40 Indiana Pacers team that would be the Eastern Conference's No. 6 seed if the playoffs opened today?
'A: The Indy Sub-.500.'
Here's an item from Sam Smith in the Chicago Tribune. He quotes Ron Artest saying that the Kings' offense needs to run through him: 'I'm able to free
people up, create those double and triple teams. And if I take a bad shot, I look at myself like a Kobe or a Tim Duncan or a Michael Jordan taking a
bad shot. You live with it.' You have to like a player who plays with confidence. I think you'd prefer a player whose self-image is slightly more
grounded in reality, but maybe that's just me. Ron Artest is a fine basketball player and even if you think he is a slug of a human being - which I
do not - you have to acknowledge his basketball skills. However, he is not at the level of those three players he recognized in his remarks and may
never reach that level.
Yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times, Elliot Harris mused that there was something wrong when Derek Lee's new contract would pay him an annual salary
that was approximately, what the total payroll would be for the Florida Marlins. He said that if the Marlins ownership really wanted to move from
Miami, they do it and they ought to consider moving to AAA or AA. I wanted to do some payroll comparisons as a percentage of the Yankees based on how
ridiculous the Marlins' salary structure seems and started to do so. Then I noticed something else in the baseball salary structure that is pretty
amazing. The Yankees payroll is $198M and the second highest team payroll (the Red Sox) is $120M. The difference there is $78M; and if my counting
is correct, there are 15 teams in the major leagues this year whose total payroll is equal to or less than that difference. That's half the teams in
MLB folks... That classifies as a “Wow!”
After the NFL schedule is published, there is always a rush by some people to project wins and losses for various teams based on the schedule -
forgetting that injuries and attrition mean more in the NFL outcomes than just about anything else. Other people - often Raider fans - look at the
upcoming schedule to seek evidence that the league has gone out of its way to screw the team over as a way to punish Al Davis for - - well, being Al
Davis. I try to avoid these kinds of activities. However, I did notice on the schedule that the Dallas Cowboys play three of their first four games
on the road and six of their first nine games on the road. That might dig the team into a hole that they cannot climb out of, but if - I said if -
the Cowboys could go through the first nine games with a 6-3 record, they look at the home stretch with five of seven games at home. There's no
conspiracy here, but it is an angle to consider when looking at the Cowboys upcoming season.
The NFL is looking for a new commissioner and has formed a committee to do so. Clearly, they have not sought my opinion on the matter, but that won't
stop me from offering a suggestion. I think the job needs to be split between two people. I say this because I think there are two critically
important aspects to the Commissioner's job, both are important, and they may require different personalities. I know that titles are important in
the corporate world, so I'll not try to create titles for these co-Commissioners here lest someone get hung up on the titles.
Co-Commissioner X: His/her job is to grow the league revenue. Co-Commish X is a marketing and financial guru who knows how to milk existing revenue
streams and to create new ones. He/she globalizes the game and expands the brand and all that good stuff. Imagine someone like Danny Boy Snyder or
Jerry Jones or Steve Jobs here.
Co-Commissioner Y: His/her job is to be the face of the league with corporate sponsors and with fans and media. Co-Commish Y needs to be outgoing
and comfortable with schmoozing, glad-handing, press conferences and presiding over the NFL Draft, which has become a major TV event. Imagine someone
like Bill Clinton or James Carville or John Madden here.
I don't expect the NFL to consider my model for even a microsecond; and even if they do, you may be certain than none of the folks I used as examples
here would deign to take the position were it to exist. But I think the model would work if given a try...
No matter how good one gets at some aspect of life, there is always something more to learn. Philly fans have a reputation for boorish behavior as a
result of pelting Santa Claus with snowballs and for shooting a bottle rocket across the Vet from the stands on one side to the stands on the other
side of the field. But Philly fans must not rest on their laurels and bask in the ignominy of their reputation as boors. They have to continue to
learn from others - and here is a potential learning experience.
The Liverpool soccer club in England's top soccer league felt that it was appropriate to apologize to the rival Manchester United club because of the
behavior of the Liverpool fans. Face it, the Phillies never felt the need to apologize to the Pirates or the Dodgers. And what did the Liverpudlian
supporters do to create this situation? They 'pelted Manchester United fans with coins, food and excrement'. Now, that sets a standard for
ill-mannered, coarse and wholly contemptible behavior.
Finally, with Income Tax Filing Day fast approaching, it is appropriate to close with an observation from Mark Twain:
'The difference between the tax man and the taxidermist is the taxidermist leaves the skin.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...
[Edited on 5/29/06 by SportzCurmudgeon]