Clearing The Air For The Holidays

At this time of the year, we are supposed to think of “tidings of comfort and joy” and “good will towards men” and “joy to the world”. The problem is that nonsensical stuff keeps getting in the way of all those good feelings. So let me try to expunge a few such things from my plate so that I might have a chance to be a man “of good cheer”.

Some folks got together and voted for the “Female Athlete of the Year”. The winner was Serena Williams; the second place finisher was Zenyatta. Folks, if those are the top two finishers, maybe the best thing to do was to forget to make such an “award” or grant such an “honor” in 2009. Consider:

    1. Quick, name me three events that Serena Williams won in 2009.

    2. OK, now that you are back from Googling that information, allow me to assert that the thing that Serena Williams is most noted for in 2009 is her threatening a line judge with jamming a tennis ball into a bodily orifice that does not normally accept objects the size of tennis balls. That was not an “outside the lines” indiscretion; that happened in one of tennis’ major tournaments; that is her signature moment of 2009. Hail to the Female Athlete of the Year.

    3. Quick, tell me how many times Zenyatta raced in 2009.

    4. OK, now that you are back from Googling that information, add that lack of “on the track” dominance to the unalterable fact that Zenyatta is a horse.

When the situation presents itself such that the top two choices in a poll are flawed choices such as these, there ought to be a default option where no one gets the award. Too bad that default option was not in place in 2009.

Since I mentioned Zenyatta above, there is another bit of news from horseracing that is disturbing even if not completely serious. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) runs racing at several tracks in the State of NY including Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. To say that the NYRA is not a well-managed entity would be the same as saying that Jeffrey Dahmer might not have been the best choice as a dinner invitee. Nonetheless, the NYRA now says that it might not have the money to put on the Belmont Stakes next year. I do not believe that for even a nanosecond, but the background for their assertion points to the farcical nature of NY State politics.

The NYRA says it will run out of money in May or June next year and the reason for that is that the State has not yet figured out how to award a license to a corporate entity to put slot machines in at Aqueduct Race Track. If you think that the State pols will get around to this in some kind of special session this winter, you might want to check out the fact that those same Sate pols passed the law authorizing slots at racetracks in NY State in 2001. The privately owned tracks in the state have slots; the NYRA tracks do not. It has been 8 years and the folks who are supposed to make the State of NY run efficiently and effectively have not been able to determine who will get the license to put the slots into the tracks that the State owns and the NYRA operates.

Is it possible – - I mean even remotely possible – - that the pols in NY are too busy enjoying the “entreaties” from a group of potential franchisees to turn off the money spigot from all but one of them?

You know what the biggest insult of all here is? If the Belmont Stakes has to be moved somewhere else to a minor league track – - like Canterbury Downs for example – - while the Preakness remains at a decrepit facility like Pimlico, every citizen of the State of NY ought to march on the capital and pelt the legislature with rocks until the edifice is reduced to rubble.

The Chicago Bulls led the Sacramento Kings by 35 points in an NBA game this week. In the final 21 minutes of that game, the Kings “rallied” and outscored the Bulls 58-19 and won the game. Oh, did I mention that this was a home game for the Bulls…? Maybe the Bulls’ home court “advantage” is not in effect this season. A couple of weeks ago, the Bulls lost a home game to the NJ Nets when the Nets’ season record was something on the order of 1-19.

Speaking of the NBA, Brandon Jennings began his NBA rookie season in a way that makes some folks think he may be the next Isiah Thomas – - on the court – - and that he will be the Rookie of the Year. To be sure, he has played very well so far. Here are a pair of interesting stats that give you an idea just how young Brandon Jennings is:

    Brandon Jennings was born on 23 September 1989. He is now just over 20 years and 3 months old.

    Jerry Sloan became coach of the Utah Jazz on 9 December 1988. He has been in that position for 21 years.

I became aware of that juxtaposition in an e-mail exchange with a long-time friend who is an NBA fan of the highest order. At the end of that exchange, he asked me if I knew who had played in the greatest number of NBA games. Naturally, my guess was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and that is incorrect. In fact, Robert Parish who played in 1611 NBA games holds the record. Feel free to use that as a trivia question at your New Years Eve party this year…

Finally, Dwight Perry had to take a week’s hiatus from his Sideline Chatter column in the Seattle Times as part of a furlough program that all the folks at the paper needed to take. For those who do not understand, “furlough” is human resources talk for “unpaid vacation”. That, unfortunately, is a bit of reality in the newspaper industry in 2009. However, upon Messr. Perry’s return, he demonstrated that he had not lost anything off his fastball while he was “resting up”. Consider these two observations:

“NBA Digital is a multi-platform conglomerate consisting of, NBA TV and NBA Mobile.

“NFL Digital, in case you’re wondering, consists of Titans owner Bud Adams’ two middle fingers.”

“The first man to make headlines with a successful Hudson landing this year was:

    “a) Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

    “b) Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez.”

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

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  • Bones  On December 24, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Merry Christmas Curmudge! And thanks for one of the most entertaining blogs around.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On December 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm


    Merry Christmas to you too.

    And thank you for your kind words.

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