Winning UGLY…

I don’t know who first coined the phrase “winning ugly”. Whoever came up with that phraseology must have been prescient because he had to have had in mind last night’s Spurs/Cavs game. No matter who won, that team would have “won ugly” because that was one of the absolutely most brutally unsightly demonstrations of basketball ever. Consider:

    Of the ten starting players on both squads, only one – the defensive specialist for the Spurs – managed to shoot over 50% for the night. One of the nominal “pure shooters” for the Cavs went 1-10 from the field.

    The box score says there were 26 turnovers in the game; if you had asked me to give an estimate of that stat as the final whistle sounded, I probably would have said 45. Bakeries don’t make that many turnovers in a single evening.

    At the end of the third quarter, the score was 55-50.

Anyone trying to make last night’s game seem attractive in any way is fighting a losing battle. Remember, you can tie a pretty ribbon with a colorful bow around a toxic waste dump; that doesn’t make the dump into venue demonstrating Mother Nature’s beauty.

It will be a little more than nine months before the Olympic Torch leaves Greece in order to make its way to Beijing for the opening ceremonies there. Once the torch does “hit the road”, it will be on the road for 4.5 months. It was about 130 years ago, that Phileas Fogg went around the world in only 80 days in a novel; but it has also been about 120 years since a journalist set out to accomplish that feat and did it with ease. The torch will be on the road and traveling 85,000 miles for almost 20 weeks; sadly, the journey will probably generate 85,000 sappy stories/vignettes about its journey. The whole display is little more than concocted crap. When the Olympics were last in the US, the torch relay actually ran down a street that is 200 yards from my house at a time when I was at home. Throngs gathered to see it; I stayed in my house ignored it.

But wait, there’s more. We still have nine months until the Olympic Torch starts its journey but this story is like a zombie; it just won’t die. Because the games will be in the People’s Republic of China, the folks who run the show in Taiwan don’t want to participate in the torch relay. You could sit the leaders of both countries down for a three-week meeting and my guess is they’d fail to agree that Tuesday comes after Monday. And so it goes. Not only will we have to endure the sappy torch traveling stories, we’ll get to witness “dueling press statements” from these two governments for the next nine months about whether or not the damned torch will be allowed to set foot – so to speak – on the island of Taiwan.

All together now:

        We … Don’t … Care … One … Way … Or … The … Other … Where … The … [Bleeping] … Torch … Goes … Or … Doesn’t … Go … On … Its … Trip.

Zygi Wilf bought the Minnesota Vikings two years ago. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported recently that Wilf had promised back then to create a Board of Advisors for him in his ownership role and that he was about to make good on that promise. The Vikings’ ownership/management folks are having a retreat this week and twenty-five local business leaders, executives from local civic and charitable organizations and “community leaders” will join the retreat and begin their existence as the Board of Advisors. Normally, I’d look on a group like this as an adult version of a Middle School Student Council having all the privileges and authorities of that Student Council. However, this group may just have something to offer at this particular moment.

Just last week, Charlie Walters reported in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, that Vikings’ ticket sales are not what they have been. The Vikings have had something close to 100 consecutive sell-outs [I don’t recall the exact number] but Walters said that the streak may be in jeopardy this season and that TV blackouts may show up in the area for the first time in more than a decade. I’m not cynical enough to believe that is the reason for Zygi Wilf to convene this Board of Advisors; I am realistic enough to recognize that if sell-outs are not longer a mortal lock in town, it makes a whole lot of sense to work with local business folks and civic organizations and “community leaders” to find out what might put fannies in those empty seats. Well, other than putting a championship team on the field of course…

Last week, we had the mercifully brief maelstrom created by Gary Sheffield’s remarks that there are more Latino players in MLB than Black players because Latinos are easier to control than Blacks are. That is so politically incorrect that many people in the media had to find a way to distance themselves from the remarks without calling for Gary Sheffield’s head on a plate – - because that too would have been ever so politically incorrect. Now that the furor has died down, think calmly for moment about what happened and ask yourself a couple of questions:

    Suppose a Latino player had said that the reason there were fewer Black players in MLB than Latinos is because Blacks are more stubborn and obstreperous than Latinos. How long would it be until the Black members of the media and the Reverends Al and Jesse took loud and righteous umbrage?

    Suppose a White player had said that the reason there were fewer Black players in MLB than Latinos is because Blacks are more stubborn and obstreperous than Latinos. How long would it be until he and John Rocker would be forever joined at the hip?

Finally, Greg Cote had this item in the Miami Herald recently:

“Trying to send a nice card to Adam “Pacman” Jones. But it turns out Hallmark does not make a card specifically to congratulate someone for going a full week without being arrested.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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