Well, looks like David Stern gets what he wants after all. The two best teams in the league, the two most storied franchises in all of the NBA going after its richest prize. He's gonna get the marquee names he wants and should all go according to plan...this might be as good as the old Celtics/Lakers battles of old. Unfortunately, there will be no Scalabrine clothesline to LA's Luke Walton. Even still, let's break this down shall we? It's Kobe Bauer and Showtime 2K8 versus The Boston Three Party.
Don't worry, that's not the real Canadian Hockey League trophy Bruton from the Spokane Chiefs dropped. The real trophy is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, while this was just a replica. Still, you'd think they'd make their replica trophy a little bit better so the cup part didn't disconnect from the base so easily and thus make this poor bum look like he broke the trophy. Then again, it's not like that trophy is as expensive as the NCAA's National Championship Football (made of Waterford crystal) broken by the Florida Gators.
It's been an interesting end to the football season: Man United and Chelsea finished on equal points, but the Premiership trophy stayed at Old Trafford, thanks to a superior goal difference; Portsmouth, under the stewardship of the irrepressible Harry Redknapp, clinched the FA Cup; and then Man Utd added to their haul with the European Cup, with another victory over Chelsea.
All good stuff, but the thing that got my attention more than anything was the Joey Barton story, partly because I'm a Newcastle fan and partly because it illustrates just how fucked up and stupid the world really is. For those not in the know, Mr Barton was this week sentenced to a six-month prison term for a violent altercation outside McDonald's (he gets paid thousands of pounds a week and he still eats shit), in which he repeatedly punched a man while he was on the ground and then smashed in a 16-year-old's teeth. Considering his previous history, its amazing he wasnt jailed for longer. The man is clearly scum.
I think in the year that I've started here, I've written about a lot of stuff. I've beaten some things to death with a stick (The Fall of the "Evil Empire") while I've ignored others (what will be spoken on in a few minutes). Let it be known that I'm an avid wrestling enthusiast. Have been for about 23 years now and hell, on the weekends it was a bonding thing for my Dad and I to watch WWE events when they came to the Garden on the MSG Network. A few months ago for my 27th birthday, I actually got to attend a live event at the James A. Rhodes Arena on the campus of Akron University or the University of Akron (as the yokels here say). I probably should've written something then, but I dunno. I'm an infamous procrastinator and eh, it didn't hit me until now to write something.
Lenstradamus Called It Last October...They Should've Listened.
A funny story before I get into this. A short time after the Mets got Johan, I had a column ready to roll, singing the praises of the Mets and all but having them headed for the Show. I stopped just cause I'm a notorious procrastinator and I never came back to it. Looking at how they've started this year, I'm glad I didn't. Conversely, a year ago after the worst collapse in sports history, I wrote a column while righteously pissed saying they should've canned Randolph. There was just way too much that jumped out at me then, that I felt could become a bigger problem now if they went unchecked. They should've listened. I'm not one to say 'I told you so', but damnit, they should've listened. To Omar Minaya and the Wilpons, I should've printed a copy of my 'Open Letter To Willie Randolph' and sent it to them. Maybe if they acted then, they wouldn't be reading the stuff they're reading now questioning the team's lackluster effort given against the dregs of the Senior Circuit. For those of you uninitiated, let's recap shall we?
I'm one of the first people to gleefully jump on any misbehaving scumbag NFL player or shitty ownership group for their misdeeds, but today I figured I'd change things up and actually, you know, point out something positive that an NFL team has done for someone other than themselves. Generally, those NFL squads only watch out for their bottom line and generally have no fear when it comes to cutting injured players or screwing over those they need to be protecting most (see the NFL retirees, for example). Right now, I've got nothing but praise for the Buffalo Bills organization.
You might remember the story of Kevin Everett, the Bills special teamer who took a hit to the helmet wrong and broke his neck last season. He worked hard in physical therapy, made a miracle recovery, and was well enough to walk into the Bills' final home game of the season. By all accounts, the fact that he's even out of bed is astounding, but even more astounding is the fact that Buffalo did something for him.
Today, Buffalo waived Kevin Everett.
I know what you're thinking, "How does being waived actually help this guy?"
Well, by waiving him now, rather than last year, the Bills ensured that Everett got both his full salary from last year, and his all-important third year of NFL service, which means he's now fully vested in the NFLPA retirement plan. This means he'll be able to apply for lifetime disability payments ($224,000 a year!) and a one-time payment of $75,000 for his medical expenses. Now it's up to the NFLPA to do the right thing (for once) and put Everett on the fast track to the benefits he deserves.
Okay, so nobody's going around after the Zamboni, picking up the ice shavings and making a delicious Slushie, Slurpee, or Hawaiian Shaved Ice with the remainders (though maybe they could start selling 'Zamboni Shavings' at the concession stand?), but there's one thing even people who don't like hockey love. The Zamboni machine. There's just something about driving a lawnmower around on the ice that looks like a blast to everyone.
How a Zamboni works is... well, basically it's a floor buffer/scraper designed to smooth out the ice between periods of a hockey game. It sprays down a fresh layer of ice and squeegees it flat, while scraping out the roughness with a different blade. So really, with today's modern razors, there's not much difference what with the lubricating strip, the hair lifting, the multiple blades, and the quest for perfect smoothness. That's why these promotions are brilliant!
Really, I don't see why this isn't at every NHL game, because it's really that cool. It actually makes me want to seriously consider shaving more than once every two weeks when I get tired of looking like a homeless Grizzly Adams.
Apparently no one seems to have noticed, but Julio Franco retired yesterday after a 23-year career in baseball.
How this news hasn't even registered as a blip on the MLB radar boggles my mind. In this day and age when so many athletes who "retire" get a send-off of obscene proportions (only to unretire less than a year later), the end of a career that spans decades should get some kind of an honorable mention, yet no one seems to give a damn. No, Julio Franco was not a superstar, but the fact that he was still playing effectively after over 20 years should be worth something. There are major league players who weren't even BORN when the man started his career. He holds the record for being the oldest ballplayer in the major leagues to hit a home run, which he achieved at the age of 48. How many 48-year-old men do you see still hitting home runs these days? Hell, how many 48-year-old men are still playing baseball, period?
His final stats: .298 average, 2,586 hits and 173 home runs in 23 seasons in the majors with eight teams. All of it steroid-free, too--that alone should earn him a year-long party.
Cal Ripken can get put on a pedestal for playing a lot of baseball games in a row. Barry Bonds can get a paper crown on his ginormous head for hitting a bunch of home runs. How come Julio Franco can play baseball and play it well for 23 years and no one seems to feel it's worth even mentioning?
Somebody had better be coming up with a Julio Franco Day pretty damn soon, that's all I can say.
It should have been a glorious day in Louisville; a big boy named Big Brown won the 134th Kentucky Derby, overcoming a poor starting position and running away with the victory.
Unfortunately, it was the story of the big girl who finished behind him that overshadowed his special day. Eight Belles collapsed and had to be euthanized just after running a spectacular race of her own and placing second. She had broken both her front ankles. A horse might survive one broken ankle, even a front ankle, but it needs to have one good front ankle to balance on in order to stand. With both front ankles impaired, there was no choice but to put the filly out of her misery.
The loss of any horse during a race is tragic. To see a horse who had just run her heart out to a spectacular finish at one of the most prestigious races in the world go down and have to be euthanized is especially so. Her runner-up finish most likely would have made her a serious contender for the Preakness, and the thought of a rematch between her and Big Brown would have generated some good hype for the event. For me, it brought back way too many bad memories of the tragic end of the great filly Ruffian, who also gave her all to win and paid the ultimate price for it. It will be hard to watch the rest of the Triple Crown this year without thinking of what might have been.