Miscellany Today

I think I’ll have coconut custard pie today. What kind will you be having? It is “Pi” day after all…

I happened to run across an ESPN program with Cris Carter on camera talking about NFL matters. Listening to him speak calmly and pointedly about the subject at hand in sentences that were amenable to diagramming, I wondered if his acquisition by ESPN was a step toward the network letting Emmitt Smith’s time on the air dwindle to nothing. Time now to cue Paul McCartney:

“Let it be … let it be … let it be … let it be.”

According to an ESPN report, the citizenry of Oklahoma City voted to approve a sales tax extension thereby creating a means of funding a $120M initiative to improve an existing arena and to build a practice facility in the hopes of luring an NBA franchise to town. A 1% sales tax was to expire sometime soon and this vote extends that tax for an extra year and a half. Interestingly, the local politicos in Oklahoma City are taking the tack that no new taxes were involved in the funding that might lure an NBA team to town – - and literally that is the case. However, since that sales tax was scheduled to expire and now the tax has been extended, one could just as rationally make the argument that an “extended tax” is a “new tax”. At the most the difference between them is a distinction without a difference.

The team most folks think will be the one to move to Oklahoma City is the Seattle SuperSonics. In the past couple of weeks, local leaders in the private sector revealed a plan they have to spend $300M to modernize Key Arena in Seattle to keep the Sonics in town. Four high rollers in Seattle have pledged $150M of their money to this plan contingent on their ability to buy either the Sonics or another NBA team to house in the modernized facility.

The NBA Board of Governors will vote on issues surrounding all of this in April. On the table at the moment is a proposal to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City. Stand by for some old fashioned lobbying/politicking on this one…

Elliot Harris reported in the Chicago Sun-Times earlier this week that MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig, earned a salary of $15.06M for the baseball fiscal year that ended on October 31 2006. He also pointed out that the 2006 payroll for the Florida Marlins’ team was less than Selig’s salary.

Regardless of the fact that I think Bud Selig is under-appreciated as a commissioner for baseball or for any of the other major US sports, the fact that he made more money than did the entire Marlins’ roster for the season is appallingly out of line.

I also read a blurb saying that Chan Ho Park was in the Dodgers’ spring training camp. That leads to a very important question:

    Why?

No matter how much testosterone driven aggression happens between the Yankees and the Rays this spring, the unalterable fact of baseball life is this:

    Spring training games just do not matter at all.

Having said that, the fans in San Francisco might be permitted to generate a small measure of stomach acid over this piece of news. In a recent outing, Barry Zito yielded 8 runs in 3 2/3 innings to the KC Royals. By itself, that is an ERA of 19.6 and against the Royals that would have to be categorized as a “miserable outing”. However, the news gets worse. That game lowered Zito’s total ERA for the spring. Ouch!!!

In the European Champions League, top shelf soccer teams from all over Europe compete for a tournament championship. This year’s tournament has reached the quarterfinals stage and there are four teams from the English Premier League still standing – and a fifth team, Everton, lost out on penalty kicks recently. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United remain alive in the tournament. In the 53 years this tournament has existed, never before have there been four teams from a single league still standing in the quarterfinals.

I read somewhere that Lindsey Lohan was ordered to work in a morgue as part of her sentencing for drunken driving. I have no idea if that sentence would stand up on appeal; but if the judge wanted her to be in a place of solitude and quiescence such that Ms. Lohan might reflect on her behaviors that lead to her driving while intoxicated, maybe he could sentence Ms. Lohan to take in a bunch of games in the opening round of the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament coming up. She could have entire sections of the arena to herself and the noise level should not exceed a healthy stomach growl in those first round match-ups.

Bob Connolly writes a weekly sports round-up for The Bronx Times Reporter. Recently, he summarized the Klitschko/Ibragimov heavyweight championship bout in a way that summarizes just why boxing is a sport in serious eclipse:

“That fight was touted to be a unification bout that would return the Heavyweight Championship of the World to its one-time venerated high position. But to me, it was more hype than substance. I realize that the “big boys” could take you out with one punch, but that punch HAS TO BE THROWN. Klitschko only threw three or four right hands in seven rounds while Ibragimov stood right in front of him. I guess we were spoiled by Ali’s, Frazier’s, and Tyson’s action packed rounds.”

Finally, an item from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“Parting thought: Congrats to Edgar Prado, who at Gulfstream this week became the 16th jockey to get 6,000 career victories. Cannot confirm a proud Prado said the accomplishment made him feel five feet tall.”

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

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