As you get yourself prepped for tomorrow night’s NCAA Tournament semi-finals, consider these two comments from Brad Dickson, formerly of the Omaha World-Herald:
“If we find out that Sister Jean accepted money from a booster to steer her away from rooting for DePaul I’ll become even more jaded.”
“A Kansas player to KU fans: ‘Without all you guys we couldn’t have did it.’ OK, if I find out he’s an English major I’m rooting against Kansas.”
I think the games on Saturday offer the possibility of an interesting dilemma for Monday’s Final Game. Just suppose Loyola-Chicago and Villanova play on Monday night.
- Who will Pope Francis be rooting for?
From a fan’s perspective, this year’s Final Four teams feature lots of players who are likely to be back on the court in college basketball next year. Devonte Graham will graduate this year; maybe another player or two will decide to enter the NBA Draft; however, most of the guys you will see on Saturday night and then on Monday night will be back. To my mind, that is a plus.
Earlier this week, I tuned in to Pardon the Interruption to find that Michael Wilbon was off for the day and that Keith Olbermann was in Wilbon’s chair. For me, Kornheiser and Olbermann are two of the most interesting and entertaining sports media figures; I sat back in my chair and expected greatness from this show. I was disappointed; it was a very good show, but I had anticipated something transcendental. Whatever…
The most important things I took away from that program were:
- Keith Olbermann belongs on ESPN with a program of his own. I know there have been clashes and very rough times between Olbermann and ESPN in the past, but sports journalism/entertainment would be better off if all of that “history” can indeed be nothing more than “history”.
- James Pitaro is the new ESPN President. Maybe his “recency” in the job is a way forward to bridge the gap between ESPN and Olbermann?
So, as I was thinking about a way for Keith Olbermann to make a comeback on ESPN, my mind wandered off – no surprise there – and I started to think about other things in the sports world that I wish would make a comeback. Here is what came to mind:
- Baseball doubleheaders: I don’t mean day-night doubleheaders necessitated by rainouts; I mean doubleheaders scheduled from the start. Raise ticket prices for those events; that’s fair. But give fans who love baseball a chance to see old school doubleheaders.
- Final Four games in basketball arenas: There is a reason why college basketball teams do not play all their regular season and conference tournament games in football stadiums.
- Meaningful games on MNF: The schedule makers cannot anticipate a priori what will be a “meaningful game” in Week 12. I get that. They can, however, make a reasonable guess for Weeks 1-5 and the schedule makers have not always given us meaningful games in those early weeks.
- An actual off-season in the NBA: I will be generous and say that the NBA demands focused attention from March 1 to June 30 every year. That is when the regular season games mean something; that is when the playoffs happen; that is when the draft lottery is drawn; that is when the draft takes place. Notwithstanding that time frame, the NBA never seems to go away any more – and it really needs to do that.
- NFL Pre-game shows that are short and sweet: The NFL pre-game shows have expanded to the point where they are longer than some Oscar-nominated movies. If the discussions there were about topics as important as world peace, I would not have a problem; these shows discuss football matters and they concoct “cutesy segments” to fill time. Some TV execs need to take a set of pruning shears to these programs.
Since I mentioned the NBA Draft obliquely above, there is news today that a 5-star basketball recruit who had committed to Syracuse has rescinded that commitment and will play in the NBA’s G-League next year. In recent years, we have seen players choose to go to Europe instead of to college for a year to meet the NBA regulation that players must be one-year removed from high school to play in the NBA. LiAngelo Ball did that this year; his brother LaMelo Ball will likely do the same; Brandon Jenkins and Emmanuel Mudiay also traveled that route.
Now, according to Yahoo Sports, Darius Bazely has chosen to spend a year in the G-League here in the US rather than with a pro team in Europe. His is an interesting decision. On one hand, even with the augmented pay scale for G-League players recently implemented, Bazely would make more money playing in Europe – albeit he might have to sign a 2 or 3-year commitment to get “the big bucks”. On the other hand, playing in the G-League means that he will be seen more frequently and by a larger cadre of NBA scouts, GMs and personnel people.
Jim Boeheim is probably not happy about this. Then again, Jim Boeheim rarely seems happy about much of anything…
Finally, here is a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Airport: A mall placed near a large parking lot in which planes often land but rarely take off. To take your mind off the endless delays, these cavernous dungeons are populated by clueless security and ticket agents, zombie-like skycaps, and thousands of needlessly detained travelers enduring either the frustration of lost luggage or an impromptu body-cavity search. If Dante were alive today, airports would be listed as the fifth ring of Hell.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………