Hope You Did Your Homework – - Surprise Quiz Today

Yesterday marked the beginning of the WNBA Exhibition Season. In this morning’s Washington Post, the report of the Washington Mystics loss in their first exhibition game was all of six lines long and was taken from wire service reports. That pretty much gives you an idea of how important the Mystics are in the Washington sporting firmament. That leads me a Quick Quiz; no Googling allowed:

    1. When does the WNBA Regular Season begin?

    2. Who won the WNBA Championship last year?

    3. The league lost a team and held a dispersal draft in the off-season; which team does not exist anymore?

    4. Are you prepared for the draft in your WNBA Fantasy League?

Surely, you know that Michael Vick is home in Hampton, Virginia. ESPN has been hammering on that story all week. The only bit of coverage they missed was to have a helicopter tracking the progress of Vick’s “vehicle convoy” as it made its way down the Interstate. It is too bad that whoever picked him up in Kansas to drive him back to Virginia did not have the sense of irony to make the drive in a white Bronco. How cool would that have been?

I have a question related to the Michael Vick case that I have not seen anything about yet – - believe it or not. Vick may leave his home to go to and from a $10/hour construction job that he will have for at least the duration of his home confinement. In no way do I begrudge him his $400/week – minus deductions of course – but riddle me this:

    In an economic situation where unemployment is running near 10%, how did Michael Vick get this job?

    Are there really and truly no other people in the Tidewater area who want a $10/hour job?

    Was his time in Leavenworth the key entry on the application form that put him on the short list for hiring?

A magistrate in Florida issued a ruling that would reverberate loudly throughout the world of bad-boy athletes if it becomes commonplace. A US Magistrate in Tampa ruled that former NFL running back, Travis Henry, was in violation of his bond and ordered him to jail. Henry was out on bond after pleading guilty to a federal charge of trafficking in cocaine; he is awaiting sentencing on that guilty plea. How did he violate the conditions of his bond? The Montana judge who set the bond and named the conditions included a provision that Henry could not consume alcohol; the Florida magistrate ruled that when Henry did that he violated the terms and conditions under which he was allowed to be out of jail prior to sentencing.

Imagine if judges started to include that provision for bond or for probation after a plea bargain for all bad-boy athletes. Then imagine if evidence of alcohol consumption routinely resulted in revocation of bond or even worse violation of probation such that some jail time pays off the balance of the probationary period. If this were to become prevalent, we might have to build a few more jails in the country…

The brouhaha over Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison’s idiotic remarks about why he will not join the Steelers when the team visits the White House has abated for the moment. Surely, it will resurrect itself when the visit takes place; hopefully, that will be only a brief reappearance of the story. However, this upcoming visit by the Steelers coupled with the recent visit to the White House by the Phillies as last year’s World Series Champion makes me wonder:

    Is it time to call a moratorium on sports teams going to the White House for a visit after winning a championship?

I am not going to use the argument that the President has better things to do than to waste a half hour with a bunch of jocks. Sure he does; but he is an adult and he has to have sufficient judgment to be able to determine how to spend his hours in the day just to survive in that job for even a week. My reason for suggesting this moratorium has nothing to do with that angle; my reason is that these photo ops have become as interesting as an announcement that John Madden has released a rap CD.

I guess there was a time when a visit to the White House for a photo op by a championship team was new and fresh and interesting. By now there have been so many of them that they are scripted, stale and silly. The Phillies gave the President a Phillies uniform with a large “0” on the back and the name “Obama” across the shoulders. Boy, that was an original idea; no one had ever thought to do that one before… Gee, do you think the Steelers might give him a jersey too? I sure do want to check out the video to find the answer to that one…

    Memo to President Obama: Calling a moratorium on these kinds of silliness would be change I could believe in.

The folks at ABC/ESPN have been looking forward to – and hyping – an NBA Finals matching LeBron James against Kobe Bryant. Both players led their teams to the NBA version of the “Final Four” – - even though the NBA dares not to call it that lest they incur the wrath of the trademark watchdogs at the NCAA. However, both the Cavaliers and the Lakers have lost a game at home early in their semi-final series. If home teams were to prevail from here on out, the NBA Finals would be Denver versus Orlando.

So, just how many prescriptions for Klonopin, Valium and/or Xanax do you think have been filled in the past day or two for folks at ABC/ESPN?

Finally, since I mentioned Michael Vick and his return to Virginia above, let me close here with a comment from Kevin Cusick in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press:

“Convicted quarterback Michael Vick reportedly is planning to write a book about his experiences. It’s a children’s tale to be titled ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog Goes to Sleep.’ “

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

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  • Ed  On May 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Imagine if they told them they couldn’t leave town?

    On restricted travel, IIRC a Wings hockey player had a problem with the law (coke possession, maybe? He wasn’t deported while the case was going on, but if he LEFT, they wouldn’t let him back in. So he didn’t take road trips to Canadian cities. So they called him Bob “Only in America” Probert.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm


    What a great nickname. That’s the kind of thing I would have expected from Chris Berman!

  • Peter  On May 22, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    I’ll try the WNBA quiz:

    1. Don’t care.
    2. Don’t care.
    3. Don’t care.
    4. Will watch paint dry instead.

    How’d I do?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm


    Your answers for questions 1-3 are perfectly acceptable.

    However, question #4 requires a “yes” or “no” answer.

  • Ed  On May 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Curm, I don’t recall who hung it on him, it was just a great line. Goes down with names like Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson….

  • JJC  On May 24, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Peter copied off of me!

    Also, I don’t get the whole “come to the White House” for a team photo thing. My more cynical nature thinks it is the President (or politicians in general) trying to insert themselves into the good works of others. And doing it during OTAs and well after free agency and the draft where the team that won the game isn’t the same team you have now seems rather silly.

  • Andy from Melbourne  On May 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Mr.Curmudgeon!
    Been a while! This particular comment on unnecessary White House visits reminds me of the funniest over-the-top praise/award I know. In 2005 the English cricket team beat Australia in a contest known as ‘The Ashes’. This is a big deal, particularly for the English as they rarely win anything. This is proven by the fact that the Queen mother gave the whole team OBE’s (Order of the British Empire)! The funniest thing was that even a guy called Paul Collingwood got one, and he was the 12th man! There is only 11 in a side, so think of it as giving a substitute an award. Except in cricket this substitute can’t do anything, except carry drinks and peel oranges. Sport takes itself WAY too seriously sometimes…
    Hope you are keeping well!
    Andy from Melbourne

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm


    It’s not nice to rat out one of your classmates and say he copied off your paper… Bad form and all that.

    AND you are absolutely correct that the politicians are the ones seeking out a bit of reflected glory and some “good press” with these kinds of photo ops.


    Good to hear from you again. I’m certainly not an expert but to me membership in the “Order of the British Empire” is a big deal. Bestowing that honor on a team for winning a match – - no matter how important that one match is – - seems a bit over the top.

  • PB  On May 27, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Curm, I don’t recall who hung it on him, it was just a great line. Goes down with names like Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson….

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