Over the weekend, I received an e-mail from a former colleague who has read these rants for a long time now. He told me to stop obsessing with the NCAA Tournament and to focus on some tennis tournament in California; he said that would set these rants apart from everyone else and would “double my readership”. Please note that I did not take that advice. However, now that the weekend is over, I want to acknowledge his constructive suggestion by starting here with an item directly relevant to tennis from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“Former No. 1 Kim Clijsters will come out of retirement this summer to play for the St. Louis Aces in World Team Tennis. Analysts were shocked, having no idea World Team Tennis still existed.”
You have to have read about the allegations that Donte Stallworth was driving under the influence when his car hit and killed a pedestrian. Obviously, the legal system will have to sort out what happened and what if any culpability exists here. That is going to take time. However, I do have a question for you. Were you shocked – - SHOCKED, I say – - to learn that Donte Stallworth is represented by Drew Rosenhaus? Consider the list of wide receivers represented by Rosenhaus:
The four of them plus Rosenhaus represent the five points on the Pentagon of Pinheads…
Enough diversion here; back to the NCAA basketball tournament… Here is a fact not worth remembering:
Al Skinner (coach at BC) and Rick Pitino (coach at Louisville) were teammates on the UMass basketball team. They were freshmen while Dr. J was a junior at UMass. Freshmen were not eligible for varsity sports at the time so neither of them played in a college game with Dr. J.
Here is another fact – - this one worth remembering:
Neither Skinner nor Pitino has a player on his current team who is “the next Dr. J”.
Since the NCAA focuses so intently on “branding” and “sponsorship partners”, let me suggest that they brand the #1 versus #16 match up games in future tournaments with Marvel Comics. They could call them “The Ben Grimm Games”. It’s clobberin’ time…!
John Calipari said of his senior class – a class that has won 136 games going into the tournament this year – that they will be remembered for a long time:
“I think 40 years from now they’ll still be the winningest players in the history of college basketball.”
Perhaps true – - but unless they actually win it all this year, I doubt they will be remembered nearly as widely as the UCLA teams of the 60s and early 70s that won fewer games but more than two handfuls of championships.
After Cleveland State defeated Wake Forest in their first round game, Cleveland State forward J’Nathan Bullock said:
“We’re not here to be no laughingstock.”
At that moment, every faculty member of the English Department at Cleveland State University broke down in tears…
I promised to have some comments on the advertisements that assaulted everyone during the first four days of the tournament; so, here they are:
1. Those KFC Bowls that are “on sale” represent a level of carbohydrate loading fit for a marathoner. Mashed potatoes, corn, breaded chicken and gravy. Then toss some cheese on top of that to make the caloric level stratospheric. Eat too many of these and see whether you come down with Type 2 Diabetes or coronary artery disease first.
2. Would you actually have a credit card with a picture of “Spaghetti Jimmy” on it that you would hand to someone to pay for any purchase? Not me…
3. How disturbing was the Boston Market ad where the little guy had to try to ride the big guy for 8 seconds just to get a taste of a fried chicken dish? Tell me just how that was so different from “dwarf bowling” – - which Boston Market would not dare show.
4. The kids doing slide shows and other computer manipulations for Microsoft software are most annoying. In fact, I believe that Microsoft has now eclipsed Apple in terms of annoying commercials.
5. The premise of the Charles Schwab ads is that with the plunge in the stock market you need to take control/get better advice/preserve your capital now and you should “talk to Chuck”. Excuse me, but unless “Chuck” can show me that his clients did not lose all that much wealth in the last 6 months, why would I want to talk to him?
6. In the Silverado ad where Howie Long talks to the nerd who is posing as a “real trucker”, the first question Howie asks is about the other truck’s mileage. Since when do “real truckers” care more about mileage than anything else?
One more thing I saw a jillion times last week that has never made a lot of sense to me is the “team fist bump” for a guy at the free throw line who has just missed the first of his free throws. Excuse me, he missed! Why is that something that deserves a congratulatory gesture?
Finally, Bernie Lincicome had this item on his new blog recently related to Gonzaga’s tendency in recent years to exit the tournament early:
“Gonzaga has done this so often that, were you curious enough to inquire, you would not be surprised to find that Gonzaga is the Esperanto word for Third Round Loser.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…