When I listen to radio/TV analysts, I tend to like the ones who see through the hype and speak to what is actually happening. If they can do that
with a touch of humor too, that makes it all the better. I want to start today with two examples interesting analysis:
Sir Charles Barkley was on TNT after the Pistons had manhandled the Cavs for the second consecutive time in their playoff series. You have to have
seen the new Nike ads with LeBron where they make him into a messianic figure and claim, 'We are all witnesses'. Sir Charles said:
'We're witnessing something. We're witnessing an ass-kicking.'
The Tigers sent a relief pitcher into a game against Minnesota and the pitcher gave up two hits on his first two pitches. Manager Jim Leyland went to
the mound to talk to the pitcher and the catcher. Twins' TV analyst Bert Blyleven said that Leyland was probably asking the catcher how the pitcher
was throwing and the catcher was probably replying:
'I don't know; I haven't caught one yet.'
Tuesday night, the Orioles played to the smallest crowd in the history of Camden Yards; there were 16,566 folks in the place. Last night, the Orioles
eclipsed that record drawing only 15,548 to the park. It wasn't that long ago when you couldn't get Orioles tickets unless you knew someone who had
season tickets or were part of a consortium that bought season tickets for itself. Before anyone jumps to the defense of Peter Angelos and declares
this as vindication that the O's would be harmed by a franchise in DC, let me make this statement for people who do not live in this area. There is
not a caravan of cars and busses headed south on Interstate 95 from Baltimore to Washington when the Nats are in town. In fact, whilst the Orioles
set these two 'records', the Nats were in Cincy. The problem in Baltimore is simple; the O's stink and they have stunk for quite a while now. Both
the O's and the Nats are looking at attendance figures that would be politely described as 'sagging' and more candidly described as 'tanking'.
I doubt however that either the O's or the Nats need to worry about setting the MLB record for lowest attendance at a game. That distinction belongs
to Worcester Ruby Legs in 1882 when they drew a total of six - that's SIX - people to a game in September of that season. Maybe you couldn't tell the
players without a scorecard that day, but it would not have been difficult to memorize the names of all the paying customers.
There was some buzz over the winter that the arrival of Leo Mazzone from the Braves might do wonders for the O's young pitching staff. Early results
are not good at all. The team ERA is 5.71 going into last night's game; two starting pitchers - Rodrigo Lopez and Bruce Chen - have ERAs over 7.0
this morning. Lopez and Chen have a combined record of 1-9 as of this morning; don't hold me to this, but I think that their only win was by Lopez on
Opening Day. Maybe it just takes more time for Mazzone to work his magic - - or maybe his magic works a lot better with pitchers like Greg Maddux and
Tom Glavine and John Smoltz on the staff?
A new baseball minor league will start next season. The Continental Baseball League hopes to have between six and ten teams in 'mid-sized towns' in
the Midwest. The league will have doubleheaders on Sundays and hopefully an 80-game season. One of the innovations they will try is the double-value
home run. In the seventh inning only, the first home run hit by a team that is behind in the score will count double; a grand slam in that situation
would score eight runs instead of four. It's an interesting gimmick but it has about as much chance of becoming part of MLB as Jerry Falwell has of
You've probably read that some players for the Detroit Lions filed a grievance with through the union because their minicamp practices were more
stringent and more 'football-like' than the CBA permits at this time of year. The Lions players will now have two days of practice removed from the
schedule and they'll still get paid as if they are working. Since the merger of the AFL and the NFL, only the New Orleans Saints have lost more games
than the Lions; this franchise has been bad for quite a while now. And the players are complaining about having to practice too hard? Maybe we can
see a teeny part of the problem here. The way Lions' fans ought to look at this situation is that the Lions could be made to practice in pads and at
full tilt for 16 hours a day for the next ten weeks and the Lions would still owe the fans more work in order to square the tab for the last 35
I would not be surprised if the new coach, Rod 'Martinet' Marinelli, finds out which players were so offended by the practices that they put the
grievance in motion and then find a way to do without them. And for the record, just which players on that squad would fit in the category of
'indispensable'? It would be a very short list indeed.
Titans' offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, was saying all the right things about getting LenDale White in the second round of the draft. Chow pointed
out all the TD's that White scored and the fact that he didn't lose a fumble all last year; then Chow went over the top saying, 'In the Rose Bowl
(versus Texas), when they (USC) needed a play, Reggie Bush wasn't playing but LenDale White was. That should tell you a lot.'
Memo to Norm Chow:
You might want to check that game film again. On that critical play when White was in and got the ball, he got stuffed.
They needed a play; they gave it to White; he didn't make the play; they lost the game. Not a great entry on the resume.
First, we had all the hoopla about Jerome Bettis coming from Detroit and going back to his roots for the Super Bowl. Then, Hines Ward made a roots
trip to South Korea. Now, Ben Roethlesberger is on a roots trip to Switzerland. This just has to stop!
Finally, here's an observation from Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:
'Congratulations to Best Western, which just signed a deal to be the official hotel chain of NASCAR. How fitting. Nothing says NASCAR like a noisy
AC window unit and a free continental breakfast.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...