Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quick hits

Congrats to the LA Kings for winning the Stanley Cup. Just goes to show ya that seeding doesn't mean jack when the NHL playoffs start.

Also congrats to Rafael Nadal for winning the French Open yet again. What is it with him and clay courts anyway? The dude's virtually unbeatable on that surface.

Much was made about the slip-sliding away Detroit Tigers fattening up a bit on their current series with the "woebegone, hapless, perhaps the worst team in baseball",  Chicago Cubs. The Cubs just knocked them off in the first game, in no small part due to the Tigers woebegone, hapless play of their own. How many different ways can you say "one good pitcher, two good hitters, the rest mediocre at best, koolaid, and overrated"?

Hard to believe, but Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers may shortly become irrelevant. Sure, Kobe turning 34 in a couple months doesn't exactly make him old by NBA standards, but what's going on in Oklahoma City with their Thunder reshapes the landscape. The Thunder is already superior to the Lakers, and all their "big guns" are under 25 years old. Despite all the glitter and celebrities, "Showtime" seems to have moved to Oklahoma City. The Thunder are ridiculously skilled and athletic, have a great coach, and if their front office can somehow keep them together, while adding another player here and there, despite future potential free agency and the salary cap -- this could be a dynasty in the making. No doubt Kobe will eventually be a Hall-of-Famer, but if this plays out, he'll never get anywhere close to sniffing another championship.

Something's wrong. The US (golf) Open is going to start tomorrow in San Francisco, and we haven't been bombarded yet with Tiger Woods' highlights from years and tournaments past? I always thought that was mandatory programming for some reason. But not to worry, faithful Eldrickoids. From the minute your hero steps onto the first tee, until the last putt is holed on Sunday afternoon, it will be the Tiger show. It always is. Every shot he hits and everything he does will be shown live, and replayed a few hundred times. For days. And if he wins -- it will go on for weeks -- maybe months, or even years. John Lennon of the Beatles once said, "We're more popular than Jesus". Eldrick seems to be the same way amongst a lot of golf fans, for reasons I'll never understand.

Obviously, ESPN is reaching out to a global audience. How else to explain their recent coverage of the European soccer playoffs? That's great, but other than prep players and their soccer moms, more people in America are into foosbol than futbol. Betcha their North American Nielsen ratings aren't so hot.

At this time a year ago, the Dallas Mavericks were crowned NBA champions, having defeated Lebron James and the Miami Heat. This year, after management/union strife to reach an agreement, the season was supposedly "condensed". In other words, they tried to cram as many games into the season as they possibly could, which was beneficial to owners' bottom lines, but tough on the players, with so many games jammed into a shortened schedule. So the question becomes -- if the season was "condensed", then why will it last 2 weeks longer than it ever did in the past? OKC and Miami are just getting started in the finals. If it goes the full 7 games, we're getting close to July. How long is enough?

Then again, if they could stretch it out just a few more weeks, that would get us into the NFL preseason. In popularity, comparing the NFL to the NBA would be like comparing a T-Rex to a gerbil. There can only be one king, and his name isn't Lebron. Besides, we wouldn't have to be bored with nothing else to watch besides the dog-days of baseball. Too expensive, too hot to go cook in a stadium, and even certain columnists will tell you the games don't matter until September -- though I've never understood that logic either. I thought they all counted the same.

In a few days, after a marathon "show-trial", the jurors in the Roger Clemens case will finally be able to deliberate, render their verdict, and go home to resume the lives they had before they got dragged into this mess in the first place. Or will they?  What happens if they become a "hung jury" and can't reach a verdict? The judge would have to declare another mistrial. Would the prosecutors dare to insist on a third trial, while spending a few more million tax-payer dollars just because some guy supposedly lied to a bunch of politicians in the first place? The feds are a persistent bunch, but one would think even they would have the common sense not to pursue such a thing. They'd get eaten alive by negative popular sentiment.

The Jerry Sandusky trial about child molesting just started, and it got ugly in a hurry. Now young men giving graphic testimony about how they were allegedly sexually victimized by Sandusky years ago. Like the Clemens trial, this will likely drag on for many weeks. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will both muddy the waters through various means trying to sway the jury. Like most other high profile trials, the prosecution will put people on the "witness" stand to say one thing -- and the defense will attempt to shred their credibility. It's not about justice anymore. It's about thoroughly researching the 12 men and women in the jury box, and saying or doing whatever it takes to get them to agree with you. Justice took a hike a long time ago. Now it's about winning and losing. Period.

Oh yeah. Oklahoma City won Game 1 of the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat, in convincing fashion. But I've maintained for months that this is Lebron's year.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


  1. John, did you ever stop and think that Tiger's popularity has something to do with the fact that he is the best golfer of his generation, and maybe ever?

    The wall to wall coverage has more to do with the times we live in than Tiger himself. I would bet that when Nicklaus was dominant (remember, Tiger has won as many tournaments by 36 as Jack did in his entire life), if we had the instant news cycles as today, if there were cable tv, if there were a golf channel, that Jack would have dominated the coverage.
    Only it seems that Jack was a better person than Tiger. And I used the word seems because we REALLY don't know, do we?

    1. Maybe, but it only seems Mother Teresa was a better person than Lindsey Lohan, but we really don't know that either, right? As for me stopping to think -- in a good year that might happen 2 or 3 times. But then I'll still probably get it wrong. So what's the use? Shooting from the hip is easier -- and a lot more fun, to boot. Have a good one.