The Streak Is Ended…

The men’s basketball team of the New Jersey Institute of Technology broke its 51 game losing streak this week. The Highlanders defeated the Bulldogs of Bryant University 61-51. [Was it karma that set the score for the Bryant team at 51 points when that broke a 51 game losing streak? Only The Shadow knows…] Prior to this win, the last time NJIT won a basketball game was in February 2007 when they defeated the Lancers of Longwood College. Congratulations to NJIT.

Ole Miss Basketball coach, Andy Kennedy, has been embroiled in a controversy with a Cincinnati cabdriver for about a month now. The cabbie claims that Kennedy assaulted him and the cabbie has sued; Kennedy claims defamation of character based on a false accusation and Kennedy has counter-sued. Obviously, I have no insight into what did or did not happen in or around that cab in Cincinnati, but I think it is clear that there will be a need for some sort of mediation/arbitration in this matter.

However, based on a recent report, this case has taken on a tinge that is uncommon in such “he said/he said situations”. Reports say that Andy Kennedy’s wife, Kimber Kennedy, has also filed a suit against the cabbie and a witness in the matter who must support the cabbie’s version of the events claiming that as a result of their accusations and lawsuit, she has suffered “lack of consortium” with Andy Kennedy. Translation: I’m not going there. Regardless of the merits of her case and stipulating that a cornucopia of consortium beats the bejeepers out of lack of consortium, her allegations fall squarely into the category of Too — Much — Information.

Mike Krzyzewski got into a verbal spat with one of the local papers saying that the Blue Devils were not getting sufficient local coverage once they climbed to #2 in the country in the polls over other local teams such as NC State and UNC. Try to put aside the cognitive dissonance that comes with the juxtaposition of the words “Duke basketball” and “insufficient coverage” and focus on a larger issue. Who really cares who is #1 or #2 in the polls in mid-January?

What really matters is who is #1 at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament on the first Monday of April. Since that is what really matters, one might then conclude that poll rankings are important because they correlate to the ultimate winner of the tournament. One might conclude that and one would be wrong. Only once in this millennium has the team ranked #1 entering the tournament in March been the ultimate winner. [That was Duke in ’01.] Other than that, teams ranked #1 late in the year have managed to lose out as national champions. So, who is #1 and who is #2 in the polls in mid-January is sufficiently unimportant as to extend into the realm of the uninteresting.

I have a question regarding baseball’s Hot Stove League transactions:

    If Derek Lowe was the third-best free agent pitcher available this winter (behind Sabathia and Burnett), why did his most recent team, the Dodgers, evince no interest in signing him?

    As a follow-up question, why did it take until January for a team to sign him?

Did you happen to tune in to watch all or part of the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day? The results are in and that game – played in Wrigley Field – drew the largest TV audience for an NHL hockey game since 1974. I can picture the euphoria in the NHL executive suites when this news arrived and the flurry of activity there to figure out how to play more games outdoors to attract a wider audience to hockey. And then I can picture the execs realizing that outdoor NHL games in Phoenix and Tampa and Miami and LA just aren’t going to work…

The following item is from the column Morning Bytes by Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I believe the item stands on its own requiring no commentary:

NASCAR note of the week: If the idea of a NASCAR dating site weren’t frightening enough, consider some of the posters. Here’s one enticing come-on I found on from a 29-year-old woman in Denver named Belinda:

“ ‘Hello peopel I will like to meet poepel and share ideas for a relationship.’

“I will like to share this, Belinda: Poepel who need peopel are the luckiest popele in the world.”

ESPN decided to drop MLS from ESPN2 as a regular Thursday night scheduled event. ESPN2 will continue to carry a game of the week but that coverage will move around on the weekly schedule. ESPN and MLS say this will allow for more interesting games to be on the air; they say this is a form of “flex-scheduling” which has worked well for the NFL. [Aside: ESPN has no recent experience with flex scheduling of NFL games since MNF games are involved in any potential “flexing”.] ESPN said it had hoped to see a “ratings climb” for MLS games on Thursday night but it had not happened. In fact, ratings started out in the anemic range and then dropped to just above infomercial range.

The good news for MLS is that they continue to receive the $8M a year that ESPN pays them for broadcast rights. More good news is that by having time flexibility, MLS and ESPN can focus on a few of the teams in an attempt to try to make those teams generate a larger following. The bad news for MLS is that this is yet another concrete example of the failure of the “David Beckham Grand Experiment”.

Finally, since I mentioned the NCAA basketball tournament above, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“The karaoke machine was declared history’s most annoying invention in a government survey of 2,500, the London Telegraph reported.

“If the Brits ever had to listen to Billy Packer, you have to assume, it would’ve been the microphone.”

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

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  • Rich  On January 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    The Dodgers didn’t express interest because they had a Lowe opinion of Derek.
    I hope ESPN2 can replace the MLS Thursday night game with some WNBA events. That ought to goose their ratings.

  • JJC  On January 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I don’t see the problem with NASCAR dating services. Not that I’m a racing fan, but if I were I’d be more than willing to use it. Lets face it, it’s one less thing for a girlfriend to complain about. It’s probably not any more worthless than any other dating site out there especially since you are going to share at least one interest.

  • Ed  On January 24, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Lowe drew no sign of interest from the Dodgers.

    He waited until Januray to sign.

    His agent is Scott Boras.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    (note Ollie Perez, who will get pretty good money himself, is an unsigned Boras client too)

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On January 24, 2009 at 5:32 pm


    Since it is ESPN2 that will fill in the programming void on Thursday nights, do not sleep on more World Series of Poker replays.


    But you had to love Fitzpatrick’s response to Belinda’s “less than fully edited” note, no?


    Granted Boras is the agent here so that probably does explain why he held on past New Year’s.

    However, the Brewers made an offer to Sabathia and the Blue Jays made an offer to Burnett. They were blown out of the water by Yankees’ offers but they made offers. The Dodgers on the other hand almost seemed to ignore Lowe which seems a bit strange to me.

    I can understand why teams may be reluctant to sign Manny Ramierez (and Boras) after their shennanigans in Boston to get out of that contract. But the Dodgers made him an offer here (a low-ball to be sure) but not to Lowe…

    Verrry interesting … [/Arte Johnson]

  • JJC  On January 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    It’s a typo joke. I guess I’ve been around the unskilled wordsmiths of the internet too long to find great amusement in such acts. I used to think that it’s the quality of education that has gone down. Then I see things like American Idol (or the gong show or damn near anything that passes as reality nowdays) and have come to the conclusion that we just no longer strive for quality in or selves and others as a society.

    And along this tangent, the Michael Irving reality show, which finds 12 dopes and have them prostitute themselves to get an invite to the Cowboys training camp. I probably won’t watch it. Unless they get to share a room with Romo so TO can spout conspiricy theories about that too. Then, I’m all in.

    Speaking of being all in, the Kentucky court of appeals overturned the taking of gambling websites. Turns out that URLs are more like “billboards” than “gaming devices” according to the court.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On January 24, 2009 at 10:19 pm


    I noticed that decision by the KY Court of Appeals and will probably comment on it in the future relative to the horseracing business – - which would have been a major beneficiary of such a “grab” by the Kentucky State govt.

    Gee, wonder why the Ky State govt would do something beneficial to the horse industry…???

  • Rich  On January 25, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Late Friday basketball score for you, Curmudgeon, 58 to 57….so close that the two college teams had the same name: St. Francis beat St. Francis by a point.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On January 25, 2009 at 11:01 pm


    Pity the poor play-by-play guy on the radio for that one…

  • Rich  On January 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    ….or the sports book cashier here in Las Vegas paying out the money line tickets.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On January 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm


    True ‘dat.

    Are you bracing for the influx of Super Bowl visitors this year? What is the projection? Obviously, there should be some “slow-down” compared to the last couple of years but are folks there talking about a huge weekend?

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