Round And Round It Goes…

Where it stops, the sports world never knows. So many topics to discuss. Where should we start?

I find myself scratching my head when I see so many media outlets beginning discussions of the 2008 NFL draft. Yes, you read that right: the 2008 draft! What is this? New car sales! 2008?!?!?! This must be the genius of Mel Kiper – the man of so much self-promotion. The better half made a great comment about Kiper: He must not be married; no wife would let her husband leave the house with hair like that.

Seriously, the 2008 draft? Why would we analyze next year’s draft when a player is one mediocre performance in the BCS (Bowl Collusion Syndicate) Chan’ship game from dropping to the second day-Troy Smith, or one impressive performance against a mediocre defense in the Sugar Bowl to jettisoning to the top – JeMarcus Russell. Better yet, consider how a team’s needs could dramatically change as did the Redskins’ in 1985 when Joe Theisman’s career ended with a broken leg.

Speaking of Theisman, how ‘bout his criticisms of Brady Quinn? Every time Joe opens his mouth, I cringe. Does anyone else sense a twinge of jealousy on Theisman’s part? Let’s not forget that when Joe arrived in South Bend some three decades ago his name was pronounced THEES-MAN. He only changed the pronunciation in hopes of bettering his chances of winning some hardware.

On a side note – during a recent venture with the daughters’ soccer team we stayed in Berea, Cleveland. Just so happened that while we were there the Browns were holding Rookie Mini-Camp. As we gathered in the lobby of our hotel, two white vans pulled up to the door and unloaded several people…several large people. They all carried clipboards indicating they came from the Browners’ camp. I chuckled as a couple of the guys (had to be offensive linemen) needed to lean forward and sashay to get through a door way. The incident reinforced the “You would never make it in the NFL” commercial. Oh yeah, Brady was NOT with the rest of the rookies.

More NFL stuff – the Brett Favre episode continues to amaze. First he’s retiring; then he’s not. Then he wants to be traded; then he doesn’t. Then he’s not coming to mini-camp; then he is. Why does Favre need so much attention!?!? The longer this goes on, the more he diminishes his accomplishments. Once there was a time that I would adjust my schedule to make sure I watched the Packers play. Now there is a little more salt than cinnamon in Favre’s beard, and I suddenly want him to go away. As far as Brett’s assertions about the Randy Moss deal – does anyone think that if all things were equal, Moss would choose the Pack over the Patriots? Doesn’t it make perfect sense that Moss stands a better chance of succeeding while catching passes thrown by Tom Brady as opposed to Brett Favre? Doesn’t it make sense that Moss has a better chance of winning the Super Bowl with the Patriots?

Of course Favre is not the only aging veteran that has been allowed too much license. Thanks to Roger Clemens the sports world now knows of the “family clause”. If this move works for the Yankees, all the more power to them – yes, you can expect a few rants from Casey if it does work. In the mean time I find myself scratching my head as I hear Yankee fans on the radio justifying this move by saying: well the one team who can’t complain about this is the Sox who paid $50 million just to talk to a pitcher. First, the Yankees are one of the major players that have contributed to the inflated contracts in sports. Who else could have helped Tom Hicks out of his gaff. So now that others are anteing up, the Yanks are crying foul? Beyond that the Saux (thanks Muels) signed Dice-K to a six-year $52 million contract. Add in the beans for permission to talk and Boston signed a twenty-six year-old pitcher for a little more than $17 million per year(At this point Monty/Crossword Pete is saying THIS is why I don’t like professional sports). The Yanks, on the other hand, signed a forty-four year-old pitcher to $4 million per month! And he doesn’t need to be with the team everyday!?!?!?

Sad to see the Suns eliminated from the NBA playoffs. Now we have to wait until October to see Steve Nash feed Amare Stoudmire for a dunk. How ‘bout Nash in game four. He sticks his chest in there and takes a charge from Tim Duncan. Great stuff! I was wishing I could have heard Bill Walton’s comments on that play. Walton once criticized Scottie Pippen for trying to take a charge by saying: “What is Scottie Pippen doing trying to take a charge? Taking a charge is for players that have no game.” Walton only takes a back seat to Theisman. Someone should create a reality series where Theisman and Walton would have to cohabitate in the same domicile. THAT would be entertainment.

I am not among those who want to blame David Stern for the Suns’ loss. His reaction to the Robert Horry incident and ensuing melee was appropriate. What Horry did was wrong. But the rules about leaving the bench are clear and are established for the safety of all involved. It is unfortunate that the Suns suffer in this situation. But if this helps the league avoid anything remotely similar to what happened in Detroit a couple of years ago, then the rule has done its job.

More NBA stuff – Game 4 of the Cavs/ Nets series. Nets are down two with under :15 remaining. They take a timeout and run an iso for Vince Carter. He catches the ball at the high post, with his back to the basket, starts dribbling, and promptly loses the ball out-of-bounds. This is why the Nets took a timeout? Note to Lawrence Frank and all NBA coaches – go into your playbook. Find the page or God-forbid pages that you have for the iso play. Rip out those pages and use them in the fireplace. Iso is a great play when Michael Jordan runs it. Actually, every play Michael Jordan ran was great.

The Senators eliminated the Sabres, and the evidence continues to mount that the city of Buffalo is cursed. In game three Ryan Miller played out of his mind only to have the puck carom wildly off the boards behind the net and somehow end up in the goal. In game two the Sabres lost in overtime. This after the Sabres’ first goal was disallowed because video replay clearly showed the puck being advanced into the net by a hand. Of course video replay was inconclusive when the Sabres scored against the Rangers and the goal did not count. All this comes in the wake of last year’s injury bug that decimated the Sabres. Not to mention Brett Hull’s infamous goal which we are reminded of every time we see the painted goaltender’s crease. Have you noticed that announcers now refer to this area as THE paint? It is THE crease. THE paint exists in basketball. THE crease exists in hockey. If that’s not bad enough, the other night Maxim Afinogenov missed an open net, and the announcer referred to the play as a missed a lay up. A lay up? What is going on here? Let’s not forget Norwood’s wide right. And the jinx could go back to the 1970. In that year Buffalo-born-and-bred Bob Lanier led tiny St. Bonaventure into the NCAA Men’s Final Four. All hopes were dashed when Lanier broke his leg.

The world of cycling is proving that no one has a leg up on them in the bizarre category. “Menacing phone calls” after a couple of beers? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Greg LeMond and Floyd Landis settling their differences on the Jerry Springer show.

Rebounds and Put Backs:
Since the beginning of the 21st Century batters in the MLB have hit for the cycle on twenty-two occasions. During that same time nine no-hitters have been pitched.

The Cleveland Indians will honor Larry Doby on Friday August 10th. The entire team will wear Doby’s retired #14 in honor of the first African-American to play in the American League. Wally is happy.

For the first time in history the Hermann Trophy, given annually to the top male and female NCAA soccer player, was awarded to student/athletes from the same university. Kerri Hanks and Joseph Lapira both of Notre Dame earned soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman.

Champions League final takes place this Wednesday, May 23rd. Liverpool and AC Milan square off in Athens. All four of the English Premier League teams (Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool) won their groups. Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool advanced to the final four. Like McKee says: “We all need a good kick in the grass!”

Leave you all with a little wisdom from Hemingway: “But I try not to borrow. First you borrow. Then you beg.”

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