To commemorate this year’s Tax Day, let me begin this morning with a comment from Mark Twain:
“Only difference between a taxidermist and the tax man is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”
I think we can fairly surmise that Mark Twain would be in favor of “tax cutting” were he alive and able to vote in this year’s elections…
Recently, I mentioned the apparently last-ditch efforts in San Diego to seek approval from voters there to build a new stadium for the Chargers lest the team pick up and move north to Los Angeles. Obviously, that collection of issues would generate angst among the folks in SoCal as people take sides on the issues. However, there are two events that will play out in SoCal this summer on which very few people should disagree. This will be the last summer for:
1. Vin Scully in Los Angeles broadcasting LA Dodgers’ games.
2. Dick Enberg in San Diego broadcasting SD Padres’ games.
Both men are retiring at the end of this year after long and illustrious careers. Scully started with the Dodgers back in Brooklyn in 1950 as part of a three-man team to do Dodgers’ games that included Red Barber and Ernie Harwell. There you have a broadcasting trifecta of greatness. Just about every baseball fan knows about Scully and has heard Scully; I think there are elements of Enberg’s “backstory” that many folks do not know and I find them interesting:
Enberg had the call for the Ohio State/Cincinnati NCAA basketball championship game in 1961. That was the game that had Oscar Robertson on one side and Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Larry Siegfried and Bob Knight.
Enberg was not regularly on the air until the late 60s. He earned a PhD in Health Science from the University of Indiana and was as an Assistant Professor before going into broadcasting full time.
Lots of people will write paeans to both of these men as their departures from the airwaves become imminent. I want to say something about Vin Scully that may not be mentioned and it is something that I have come to appreciate a lot.
I have never heard Vin Scully refer to the Dodgers – or any other team on the field in front of him – in the first person. He never says “we”; he always says “they” or “the Dodgers” or “the team”.
Far too many broadcasters today – particularly color commentators – use the first person and it is annoying and inappropriate. Broadcasters are there to tell the listeners/viewers what is happening; they are not supposed to be fanboys. Vin Scully has been on the air for 66 years now. I surely have not heard every one of his broadcasts, but I have never heard him lapse into “fanboy-mode” and that is something I greatly appreciate.
Let me stay in SoCal for one more moment here… The euphoria of Kobe Bryant’s final game where he scored 60 points in a victory needs to tone down a bit so that we can look at reality for a moment. The LA Lakers’ franchise is a mess. How big a mess? Consider:
Over the past 2 years, the Lakers’ cumulative record is 48-116.
Over the past 2 seasons, the Sacramento Kings’ cumulative record is 62-102. The Lakers are 14 games behind the Kings and just about everyone thinks the Kings are about as good as puddle of pig puke.
Over the past 2 seasons, the Sixers’ cumulative record is 28-136. That is a whole lot worse than the Lakers’ record but remember, the Sixers were not even trying to win most of the time.
The Lakers were a benchmark team in the NBA from the 1976/77 season through 20012/13. In that 37-year time span, the Lakers won 10 NBA Championships and only missed the playoffs 2 times. And now, this is the level to which the Lakers have fallen…
Well, since I mentioned the Sacramento Kings just above, the team just fired George Karl after his first full season with the team. The last time the Kings made the NBA playoffs was in 2006; when the Kings hire Karl’s replacement, that person will be the 9th coach of the team since the last playoff appearance.
Shed no tears for George Karl. In a sense, this firing is a reprieve for him. He no longer has to deal with the dysfunctional roster and an owner who seems to model his ownership behavior after Danny Boy Snyder. Karl got a 4-year deal from the Kings back in Feb 2015 when he took over the job in mid-season; he has two-and-a-half years of salary still to go on that contract…
The NFL schedule is out and lots of folks are pointing to “key games” among the 256 contests on the schedule. I shall resist the temptation to make a list of the “Top Ten Most Anticipated Contests for 2016” or anything like that. I shall also resist any temptation to click on any website link that even sounds like that. However, let me point out something from the schedule:
Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. The NFL will play 14 games on Saturday, December 24 that week and 2 games on Christmas Day. The Christmas Day schedule is:
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (4:30 PM EST)
Denver at KC (8:30 EST)
New Year’s Day is also a Sunday for this NFL season. The NFL will end its season with all 16 games on Sunday that week. There will be no Monday night game on 2 January.
Finally, since I mentioned dysfunctional NBA teams above, consider this comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“Toymaker Mattel is out $3M after unwittingly wiring funds to cyber-thieves in China.
“Which is not dissimilar to the Nets paying Joe Johnson $25M for this season.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………