Friday, June 06, 2014


Back in the late '50's, there was a rumor floating around Central New York, that the great running back Jimmy Brown majored in "basket-weaving" at Syracuse University. I don't know how it started or if it was true - probably not - but it might have been a harbinger of things to come.
Now, former UNC & Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player, Rashad McCants, has made claims of academic fraud while he attended the Tar Heels basketball team. I didn't say he attended the Univ. of North Carolina, because if what he claims is true, he DIDN'T go to school. McCants says he hardly ever went to class and when he did, he didn't fare well. In fact, he says he made Dean's List one semester when he received (not earned) As  in four subjects for which he NEVER attended classes. He also said that tutors wrote some of his term papers and that coach Roy Williams knew all about it. I wonder what that diploma is worth.
At least Jimmy Brown probably knew how to weave a basket or two.

** Goodbye to Don Zimmer
Zimmer had probably been involved in professional baseball longer than anyone else in the history of the game. He played for, coached or managed more teams than I could list here. Most of the people he dealt with have stories about him, more than Casey Stengel or Yogi Berra. My recollections of him started with him managing the Boston Red Sox in the "Bucky Dent Playoff Game," and continued to his wrestling match with Pedro Martinez. He was pilloried for the playoff game loss and revered by Yankee fans for his unsuccessful attempt to punish Pedro. His energy level was unbelievable, he never stopped moving. In fact, Joe Torre once said that the best way to get a young player in shape was to have him follow Zimmer around all day. No one in baseball will forget him.

**Better living through chemistry
Not PEDs in this case, but the ability of teammates to merge into a cohesive force, In spite of all the high-priced stars they have, Don Mattingly says his Dodger team doesn't have it. The team seems to have been put together based on bubble gum cards, not with a team roster in mind. Their shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, supposedly is a worse Shortstop than Derek Jeter, if you can believe defensive metrics, whatever they are. They have four outfielders who all think they should be everyday players and none of them are true centerfielders. And they are all vocal about wanting to play and they are all highly paid. If Mattingly can pull this together, he deserves to be manager of the year.

**Where have all the hitters gone?
The Yanks spent the winter (and I do mean spend)  repairing their run-scoring woes from 2013 by signing Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. Teaming them up with Alphonso Soriano and Mark Teixeira should have meant a big upsurge in runs scored from last season. Instead, they have scored the EXACT same number of runs after 59 games as last year. Exactly. And they did it by winning 4 less games than last year. Everybody is slumping. The best hitter on the team is Ichiro Suzuki, and he only plays part time. Yes I know, they lost 60% of their starting rotation and Robertson is not Mariano Rivera (who is?), but still, when the crowd roars over a 2-run rally, something ain't right.  I guess I should only watch when Masahiro Tanaka pitches - or Dellin Betances.

**In case you hadn't heard...
...but I don't know how you couldn't have. LeBron James had to come out of last night's playoff game against the Spurs because of leg cramps. They occurred because the air conditioning failed and the temperature in the arena rose to 100+ degrees. You'd swear that absolutely nothing else happened in sports that day because that's all ESPN wanted to talk about. There was the story of the actual contest, a story about the A/C, a story specifically about James, plus one from the NBA standpoint, one from the president of the Spurs, and on and on and on.
Oh yeah, I forgot. The Spurs won.

"Golfer John Daly estimated he has lost $55 million gambling. After giving that some thought, he immediately wagered $10,000 on the ‘over.’"  -- Greg Cote 
"The most amazing streak in baseball history was:  a) Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played (1982-98)  b) Joe DiMaggio’s 56 consecutive games with a hit (1941)  c) Haray Caray’s 288 consecutive days/nights visiting a bar (1972)"  -- Dwight Perry
"An 89-year-old woman wielded a golf club to fend off a convenience-store robber in Moses Lake. Otherwise known as the ‘Elin Nordegren maneuver.’"  -- Brad Rock 
"Following Super Bowl XLIX, the following year will be marketed as Super Bowl 50, using standard numerals. Why did it take them XVIII weeks to come up with this change?"  -- TC Chong
"Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly recently told the media, "We're just not that good." I'm not sure what Mattingly plans to do when he leaves baseball, but we can rule out motivational speaking."  -- Brad Dickson
"Go figure. Hockey-mad Canada has the best team in the AL East, and baseball-mad New York has the best NHL team in the East. Wonder how many Torontonians can name three Blue Jays and how many New Yorkers can name three Rangers."  -- Janice Hough
"Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered some 3,000-year-old jewelry.  Most notable find thus far: Tim Duncan’s first NBA championship ring."  -- Dwight Perry
"The Cleveland Indians have just swept a three game series from the defending champion Red Sox. Former Boston manager Terry Francona, who is now with the Indians, brought beer and fried chicken to the Cleveland post game celebration."  -- TC Chong
  -- It ain't sports, but...
"Friday is National Doughnut Day, and there are two beer fests and a wine festival in Omaha this weekend. I got a little nauseous just typing that sentence."  -- Brad Dickson


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