By Cameron Blair
It’s a good time to be a sports fan. At least for me, anyway. It’s so good that I found it impossible to restrict myself to one topic this week. So here are some observations I garnered from the past couple weeks in sports.On Sunday, the Holy Father himself gave a mass at Yankee Stadium. Yes, Pope Benedict XVI held court in the “house that Ruth built.” Sources say he chose the location because the Yankees need all the divine intervention they can get with Hank Steinbrenner now running the show.
After the mass, the younger Steinbrenner was overheard saying, “Catholicism? What a load of (expletive) that is.”
I am, of course, referencing Steinbrenner’s tirade against Red Sox Nation. I have no idea about how the man feels about the Catholic Church.
Moving on, the first weekend of the NBA Playoffs is in the books and has lived up to the hype thus far. On Saturday, Lebron James took over down the stretch in game one against Washington, scoring six points in the final minute of play giving the Cavs the win. James is the most exciting player in the league to watch late in the game. Watching him dominate was the human equivalent of watching a lion take down a gazelle.
In the Western Conference, Phoenix and San Antonio kicked off what may be the best first-round series ever with a thrilling double-overtime win for the Spurs. Tim Duncan scored 40 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. It was reported the normally reserved Duncan went wild after the game, adding an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream to his post-game hot fudge Sunday.
Here is my only beef with the NBA. In the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks made the playoffs with a record of 37-45. Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, Golden State won 48 games and did not make the postseason. Something’s not right there. It’s like seeing a pretty girl with a guy who gels his hair and pops his collar. It’s just not right.
In non-playoff NBA news, new New York Knicks General Manager Donnie Walsh fired Head Coach Isaiah Thomas, who led the Knicks to a franchise-record 59 losses this season. ESPN reported this as breaking news. Yeah, Thomas’ firing was about as surprising as Rosie O’ Donnell coming out of the closet.
Major League Baseball’s 2008 season is well underway. My Cubbies have been on a tear, winning 11 of their last 14 games. However, most of those wins have been against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. Beating those two teams is pretty similar to playing Madden on the easy level and crushing your opponent 98-3. In other words, I’m not putting the Cubs in the World Series just yet.
Plus, I think there’s still about 426 games left in the regular season as I write this.
Speaking of baseball, Eastern continues to hover around the .500 mark, which is a bit disappointing considering the talent the team has on the field. Watching junior All-American Christian Friedrich pitch eases the disappointment, however. If I had a dollar for every batter Friedrich froze with his curveball; well, I could buy those Cubs World Series tickets I’m not supposed to be thinking about right now.
A Bengals receiver is in the news, and surprisingly, it didn’t end with a day in court. Chad Johnson has made clear his desire to be traded before the 2008 season and has threatened to sit out the season if his demand is not met.
Not surprisingly, his agent is Drew Rosenhaus, the guy behind the Terrell Owens fiasco in Philadelphia a few years ago. I’m not a Bengals fan, but I think everyone who is should be entitled to one kick to the groin for both Rosenhaus and Johnson. If only I were commissioner of the NFL.
Ordinarily I hate auto racing, but I feel you need to know this.Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile President Max Mosley is under pressure to resign after being involved in a bizarre Nazi sex orgy with a group of five prostitutes. Mosley allegedly struck the women with a whip while yelling at them in German. I have no witty one-liner to go here, but I think this may be why I have steered clear (pun intended) of auto racing.
Last but not least, Eastern’s football team will play their annual spring football game Sunday at Roy Kidd Stadium. As you may know, I try to avoid even putting pants on most Sundays. But I will definitely make it to the game-with pants on.
Now, if something makes me completely clothe myself on a Sunday, you know it’s a worthwhile event.
So I better see you all there.