The Orlando Magic crushed the Detroit Pistons last night throwing kerosene on the embers of yet another NBA controversy regarding an error by a timekeeper. Game 2 of this series witnessed the third demonstrable scoring table error of this season. This one happened in the playoffs. I have said here before that the timekeepers in basketball games can affect the outcome of games if they are so inclined. The NBA had better look into ways to “professionalize” that position or they risk adding more anecdotal “evidence” to the stories of conspiracy theorists who are convinced that all NBA games are rigged in the first place. Listen to any of those true believers and the only games that are not fixed by the folks in the NBA executive suites to garner ratings and exposure for top stars are the games rigged by the mob who have referees in their pocket.
Memo to David Stern: Get on this. Make this problem go away.
Another NBA story that hangs out there could be made into a movie – - Whither Mike D’Antoni? If he is really zipping back and forth among Chicago, Dallas, Toronto and NYC as rumored, this guy will have so many frequent flyer miles by the end of next week, he could qualify to be an astronaut. I have read that the “knock” on D’Antoni is that he does not press his players to exert themselves on defense – hence his teams do not play all that well at the defensive end of the floor.
If that is the case, then Mike D’Antoni should realize that he is a perfect fit for the NY Knicks. That team is made up virtually exclusively of players who already know how not to exert themselves on defense. So all D’Antoni would have to do in NY would be to teach them his offense.
In MLB, there is a tempest in a teapot going on regarding the Chicago White Sox and their locker room “ritual” to try to break out of team-wide batting slump. The “ritual” involved a couple of inflatable female dolls surrounded by strategically placed bats and signs reading, “You’ve got to push” and “Let’s go White Sox”. For the record, that behavior is puerile to the nth degree and any thought that it might actually cure a team-wide batting slump would require some belief system that admits voodoo as a part of its foundation. This is the kind of silliness one might expect during a fraternity initiation week on a campus somewhere.
Having said that, there isn’t all that much reason to get one’s knickers in a knot about this. I do not care where those bats were strategically placed, the doll was not violated or objectified or demeaned in any way; it’s a doll! It is perfectly appropriate to look upon this display with a measure of disgust on the basis that it is stupid, silly, and immature, but to put oneself into a state of high dudgeon over this because it symbolizes the oppression of women everywhere is pretty silly in and of itself.
This behavior happened in a baseball clubhouse. If they had done it at high noon in the middle of Millennium Park in Chicago in full view of hundreds of passers by, that would make the behavior more than puerile; it would be offensive. Other people going about their business might have happened upon it. But this happened in the White Sox’ clubhouse. I do not want to make that out to be a sanctum sanctorum; it is not. At the same time, it is where baseball players – many of whom are adults only chronologically – engage in their team antics.
Pretend for a moment that one of my joys in life is to play air guitar in the nude in my garage. Trust me; it is not. Now, suppose that I am in medias res on some piece when you walk up to my garage and fling up the door with the intent of returning something to me. You arrive in the midst of my “performance”. Sorry, but you do not have a whole lot of “right” to take offense. My behavior is harmless – albeit abjectly stupid – and I am doing it in a place where I have every expectation that no one will need to be subjected to my harmless stupidity.
Rather than seeing the White Sox locker room incident as another bit of evidence of female oppression, I see it as meaningless feckless stupidity.
Yesterday, Dwight Perry had this query in his Sideline Chatter column in the Seattle Times:
Today’s sports quiz
The ultimate example of “total disregard for the bottom line” would be:
a) The Giants giving a pitcher with four straight years of double-digit losses a $126 million contract.
b) The Sonics abandoning the nation’s 14th-largest media market so they can move to the 45th-largest.
c) John Daly bending over to pick up a golf ball.
In that spirit, let me offer a Quick Quiz for today:
What was Roger Clemens’ biggest mistake?
a) Taking performance enhancing drugs
b) Taking advice from Rusty Hardin
c) Marital infidelity
d) Suing his personal trainer who was aware of so many of Clemens’ iniquities
Finally, there has been a whole lot of frothing around the issue of Brazilian soccer icon, Ronaldo, becoming involved with three prostitutes who turned out to be transvestites. All I can say is that this could be a lot worse. At least none of the transvestites was 15 years old.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…