Friday, August 12, 2005

Going on the Record

There's so much going on these days in sports, that it's getting tough to keep up. Here are some short takes on current developments.

1. T. O. Boooooooooorrrrrrr-ing!! Terrell Owens (above, left) is a talented, highly paid wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles. He's also an obnoxious guy. He's managed to make himself a football pariah with his recent training camp antics. Does anyone really give a shit if this guy plays this year--or any year? The energy expended in following his crap is exhausting, If it were up to me, I'd let him sit all year. I hope the Eagles take a hard-line stance against him. Really, it's so boring. As a lifelong Redskins fan, I have no sympathy for what happens at Eagles camp, but it would be great to see the Eagles tell this guy to kiss off and then go on and have a productive year and even get into the playoffs. Go away, T.O. Just go away...

2. The recent outfield collision between New York Mets Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran was intense. We wish a speedy recovery to Cameron (pictured above, center), who suffered a broken nose and fractured cheekbones. It's been a while since we've seen baseball multimillionaires risk life and limb in such a fashion, all in pursuit of a sinking line drive. Losing Cameron is a tough break for the Mets, who still have faint wild card hopes.

3. Other baseball reflections:

The lovable Washington Nationals are fading fast, and even a wild-card slot looks remote.

The Oakland Athletics are having an amazing year. Who ARE these guys?

Ditto the Cleveland Indians, who aren't really "amazing" yet, but ARE ahead of the Yankees in the wild-card race.

The Chicago White Sox recently took 2 of 3 from the Yankees in New York. This team has pitching, enough hitting, and an amazing young defensively gifted centerfielder named Aaron Rowand. Barring a typical Chicago meltdown, this team looks to be a World Series favorite.

The Atlanta Braves are the finest baseball organization in the game. Year after year, they plug holes with shrewd yet fairly low-profile free-agent signings, but more importantly, they always seem to have farmhands waiting in the wings to join the parent club and make critical contributions. Never count this team out.

It's actually possible that the National League West division winner will have a record below .500. Presumably, at least one team--Padres or Diamondbacks, probably--will avoid this ignominy, but it still could happen. We can only hope that if it does, that the team loses quickly in the playoffs. There's nothing worse than clearcut mediocrity getting lucky in the postseason.

This is no revelation but...the Chicago Cubs really suck, in a really sad way...

Then there's the Kansas City Royals, who are 38-76, and have lost 13 in a row. Also really sad...

Not to be overlooked, though, are a bunch of other really bad baseball teams. Of Tampa Bay, Seattle, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Colorado, not a one has yet to win 50 games.

4. Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett (pictured above, right) is dealing with nagging injuries in the Denver Broncos training camp. I'm pulling for this guy to make the team and have a nice NFL career. I'm still convinced Clarett got screwed over by OSU and the NCAA. Colleges use these kids, then don't stand behind 'em. Good luck, Maurice, and kudos to Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan for taking a chance on the guy.

5. Former Heisman-winning Oklahoma QB Jason White gave it a shot in the pros, but the dream is over. White tried out with the Kansas City Chiefs in the spring, to no avail, then he later signed on as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans. He recently left the Titans' Nashville camp, stating that his surgically reconstructed knees simply couldn't take the pounding. White apparently had the brains and the arm to play NFL football, but he recognized that his bad knees made NFL-caliber quick drop-backs impossible. He'll pursue coaching opportunities now, and we wish him all the luck with that.

6. Can someone throw a bomb into the offices of the NCAA? Once again, this dumbass, hypocritical organization is trying to get schools to drop their ethnically inspired nicknames. What I guess they're trying to do is make any school with a "politically incorrect" nickname ineligible for postseason play; that is to say, the schools won't be able to use their mascot images or nicknames in any postseason tournament or venue. So, even though Florida State University has already received the blessing of the Seminole Nation to use "Seminoles" as their nickname, FSU would have to drop the Indian iconography in order to compete in postseason tourneys. What a crock. Native American nicknames are a good thing. They help to remind us of our regional and historical heritage. They keep American Indians in the historical forefront. Guess what, NCAA? We LIKE the Native Americans. We revere their place in history. Failing our ability to roll back 300 years of history, and return the USA to ownership of the descendants of Sitting Bull, we like to think that college mascots and nicknames are actually tributes to Native American history. The NCAA officials state that they are responding to "complaints" on this matter. Well, then, do the right thing, NCAA: IGNORE the complaints! Again, what a crock. I suppose if animal activists start complaining, we'll have to dump other school icons, like Wolverines, Bulldogs, Longhorns, Gators, Bruins, Ducks, Beavers, Golden Gophers, Badgers, Tigers, Jayhawks, Wildcats, etc., etc. Or maybe sailors will start complaining about Commodores or Midshipmen. Maybe victims of hurricanes will start to complain about Miami (Fla.) being called the Hurricanes. Strangely enough, the NCAA has apparently received no complaints from drunken Irishmen who might feel that Notre Dame's Fighting Irish nickname is inappropriate. And just wait till the Hoya lobby starts making waves. Find another nickname, Georgetown! A few years back, in response to this kind of PC malarkey, Marquette University changed its nickname from Warriors to Golden Eagles. For their sake, let's hope the bird constituency doesn't start to make waves. The whole thing is ridiculous. Can't they give these NCAA employees something productive to do? Like sharpening pencils or fixing the paper jam in the copier? I don't want to hear anything more on this topic, but I'm afraid we're yet going to have to deal with it. What a waste of God's good time.

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