The sporting world lost three recognizable folks over the last week or so:
Tommy Mason passed on. He was the first player drafted by the Minnesota Vikings back when they were an expansion team.
Bill Monbouquette passed on. In addition to his own achievements as a major league pitcher, I recall in the late 60s when he spent some time late in his career in the National League that his name was a tongue-twister for By Saam who did the Phillies’ games then. Saam said his name as “Mon-cue-bet”.
Ernie Banks passed on. Mr. Cub can now get ready to “play two” in the Celestial Baseball League.
RIP, Tommy Mason, Bill Monbouquette and Ernie Banks…
Given the monstrous weather conditions in the eastern parts of New England this week, here is a suggestion for the folks-in charge there to make chicken salad out of chicken … “you know what”:
Why not try to pay off the good folks in Alaska and get the Iditarod moved from “Wherever, Alaska” to Wherever-Else Alaska” and have it start this year in Boston. Two laps around a route from Boston to Albany, NY to Portland, ME and back through Boston would come awfully close to the 1000 mile trek for the dogs and the mushers. Why might this be interesting?
First, it might show the folks at the IOC the organizational skills of the folks in Boston. If those Beantowners can pull off this sporting event on short notice – even though there is no history of any such event in the same general area as is the case with the Olympics – think about what that might mean about those same folks doing something “grand” with almost a decade to prepare.
Second, the grand prize for the winner of the Iditarod has been a mid-five figure payoff and a pick-up truck for the past several years. With two weeks’ notice, the Boston folks should be able to match that – or double it – without breaking a sweat.
No need to thank me here; win-win situations are my specialty…
If you can force yourselves to do this, I want you to take your sporting focus off of the Super Bowl for just a moment today and pay attention to what is going to happen tomorrow in the NFL. On Friday of this week, Commissioner Roger Goodell will give the annual “State of the League” address to the assembled scribes and talking-heads. Face the facts here; even Rudolf Nureyev could not dance around the embarrassments of the NFL over the last 12 months gracefully. Goodell is not Nureyev; he will be lucky to dance around them without winding up with his foot in his mouth – or in the orifice at the other end of his alimentary canal.
How has the NFL embarrassed itself in the last year? Let me count the ways [with apologies here to Elizabeth Barrett Browning]:
Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald as a juxtaposition
Robert Mueller’s report
Dean Blandino on the Cowboy’s “Party Bus”
The Washington franchise name
Player safety juxtaposed with more Thursday Night Football
Deflated/Underinflated footballs (note a fundamental difference here!)
Standing up there and giving a prepared speech with all that monstrous vomit in the background is not any better than being President and having to give a State of the Union address when times are bad and the “other guys” are in the majority in the audience. It would not surprise me a bit to know – if I could read minds – that what Goodell really wants to do is to build his address to a crescendo and then to drop his pants and moon everyone who is paying rapt attention to the speech. Then he can “leave the building” and live off the approximately $100M he has earned in his tenure as NFL Commish and at the same time, tell the rest of the world to “do this with your that”.
I will not be able to watch the speech live and in color; I will be assisting a family member in the events surrounding a change of venue for a business venture. However, you may be certain that I will watch whatever snippets of the speech are available in the mass media and will be sorry to see that the address did not end with the fullest moon that Arizona ever saw…
Just in case you think that Goodell’s ownership embarrassments end with folks like tone-deaf Danny Boy Snyder or rumblin’, bumblin’ stumblin’ Jim Irsay or two steps ahead of indictment Jimmy Hasalem, perhaps you have not yet heard about the fun and games surrounding Tom Benson, the Saints’ owner.
According to reports, Benson decided to cut his daughter and her two kids out of the ownership of the team when Benson goes to the great used car lot in the sky. Instead, reports say that the Saints’ ownership will pass to his third wife when Benson “assumes ground temperature” so to speak. This seems as if it should not be such a big deal – except for the fact that his daughter and two grandkids have sued him over this action. They claim that he is mentally incompetent, that he has only brief moments of lucidity and that he still thinks that Ronald Reagan is President – or perhaps it is Harry Truman. No matter how this proceeds from here, it will be a PR nightmare for the Saints, the Benson family and the NFL.
Roger Goodell may be looking for someone to introduce Tom Benson to V Stiviano before the year is out…
Finally, if Al Davis were still alive and wanted to poke a stick in Robert Kraft’s eye, Davis might invite Lance Armstrong to join him in an owner’s box at the game and put a bunch of deflated balls in plain view for the TV cameras to see. Sadly, Al Davis will be watching this game from the owner’s box in the cosmos…
But don’t get me wrong,, I love sports………