RIP Dr. Jerry Buss

Unlike the previous two offerings here, today’s rant will not respond to any requests – for a very simple reason. I do not have any requests to respond to – other than the usual ones that tend to go like this:

    Hey, you old coot; how about packing it in and stop polluting the Internet with your drivel?

Having ignored those requests for more than a decade, I have no difficulty in ignoring them today. Instead, I choose to begin this morning with a tip of the hat to the recently deceased Jerry Buss, owner of the LA Lakers.

Dr. Jerry Buss bought the Lakers – and the Fabulous Forum where they played at the time – from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979. In the 33 years that Dr. Buss owned the Lakers, the team made it to the NBA Finals 16 times and it won the NBA Championship 10 of those times. That sounds very “dynastic” to me… Jerry Buss made the money it took for him to buy the Lakers through real estate investments but the reason I always felt a sort of kinship with him was that he earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from USC in 1957. Thirteen years after his accomplishment, I earned the same degree in the same discipline from a different university.

RIP, Dr. Jerry Buss.

I read a report yesterday that the Seattle Mariners traded Mike Carp to the Boston Red Sox for cash and/or a player to be named later. Too bad. The LA Angels missed an opportunity here by not finding a way to get Mike Carp and Jason Bay from the Mariners in a trade. Think about it; that would have allowed the Angels to put Mike Trout, Mike Carp and Jason Bay in the lineup at the same time. If the Angels had then added Braves’ pitcher Robert Fish they would have a lineup that would have no difficulty whatsoever finding a catcher.

My grandmother always used to say that bad things happen in threes. I have no idea where that adage originated, but she believed it categorically. [Aside: I remember wondering as a kid why good things did not also happen in threes but never screwed up the courage to ask.] Well, just in case my grandmother was actually onto something here, the following people ought to feel a tad nervous today:

    Kobe Bryant
    Roger Federer
    LeBron James
    Derek Jeter
    Michael Jordan
    Jeremy Lin
    Michael Vick
    Serena Williams
    Tiger Woods

I am not wishing any evil or bad fortune on all of these folks, but the fact is that all of them are spokespersons for Nike. And, in recent memory, bad things have happened to two of Nike’s spokespersons – namely:

    Lance Armstrong – and –
    Oscar Pistorius

If my grandmother had some tie-in to an as yet not understood cosmic linkage that links to the number, “three”, I think all the folks on the first list need to be very circumspect about what they do in the next several months.

On a much lighter note, Dwight Perry had this observation in a recent Sideline Chatter column in the Seattle Times:

“A 150-foot asteroid passed within 17,000 miles of Earth last week.

“Or to hear Bob Uecker call it, just a bit outside.”

There are only a few redeeming social values associated with Facebook but one of them is the ability to stay current on Dan Daly’s quips now that his columns are no longer appearing in the Washington Times. Consider these two from the past week:

“The ONLY time teams from the same town won the NBA Championship and the NCAA Championship was in 1972. The Heat and the [Miami] Hurricanes aspire to those titles this year.”


“Isiah says LeBron is ‘probably a better athlete than Michael Jordan was.’ Which means, what, he could hit better than .202 in Double-A?”

One of the standard stories that “must” come out of Spring Training for all 30 MLB teams is that the owner of any team is pleased with the way the team looks going into the regular season. He is confident that they have the right mix of youth and experience and that the team can do much better than any pundit might think they can if only they can avoid the plague of injuries that seems to visit – randomly – various MLB teams. Frankly, I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that baseball writers routinely go and wash their hands in lye soap after typing out those bits of drivel every spring.

I mention that because this standard story indeed found its way out of the Cubbies’ Spring Training facility this week. Owner Tom Ricketts expressed his optimism for the team’s future and said that he looked forward to an improved season in 2013. Folks, that is not exactly setting the bar for acceptability very high. Please recall that the Cubbies lost 101 games last year. Should the team finish 66-96 this year, Ricketts could tell everyone that his optimism had been proven to be correct.

Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald relevant to one of the Nike spokespersons:

“Heat star LeBron James, who makes about $58 million a year in salary and endorsements, told he is underpaid and doesn’t get the credit he deserves for taking less money. Aside to athletes making $58 mil a year: Ix-nay on the oh-poor-me.”

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

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  • Tenacious P  On February 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

    You used drivel twice in the same column. Your “standard stories” paragraph was excellent. Danny Kaye would be proud.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 21, 2013 at 9:55 am


      You certainly live up to your name when you notice that I used the word “drivel” twice. I had to go looking to find where they were.

  • Doug  On February 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Michael Jordan is batting about .202 as an NBA as well (actually, it’s .241).

    • Doug  On February 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

      * NBA owner

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 21, 2013 at 11:35 pm


      If the Bobcats’ drafts do not improve significantly – and quickly – MJ’s winning percentage will get down to the .202 level posthaste.

  • Rich  On February 21, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Curmudgeon, please! No more fish references. I have a haddock.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm


      I only threw them in today for the halibut…

  • Bones  On February 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Regarding your degree in higher learning — should we have been calling you Dr. Curmudge all along? ;-)

    Oh, and don’t worry about the fish references — I’m having a whale of a time reading them…

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 21, 2013 at 11:39 pm


      Under no circumstances should anyone call me Dr. Curmudge – or Dr. anything. Whenever someone does that to be socially proper, I always live in fear that someone who overhears that appelation will tell me about the pain the have in their shoulder…

      I grew up in the “Sputnik Era” where any kid who could do math was encouraged to become a scientist because it was the patriotic thing to do. What I really wanted to become was a guy broadcasting baseball games on the radio.

      • Bones  On February 22, 2013 at 8:38 am

        Well that’s good to hear. I’ve been around universities a lot in my life and there’s a certain number of folks who absolutely *insist* on being called Doctor Joe Blow with a non-medical doctorate. Technically correct but they tend to be, how shall I say, rather full of themselves and a right pain in the posterior to boot. A generalization of course, but fairly close to the mark in my experience.

        • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm


          My experiences around academia are parallel to yours and that is precisely why I never use “Dr.” with my name.

  • Rich  On February 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I think we all would agree that it is appropriate to call Julius Erving The Doctor.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm


      No one who saw him play would think that title was inappropriate.

      • Rich  On February 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm

        One of the most amazing plays I have ever witnessed in person was a reverse slam dunk by The Doctor at the very end of an ABA playoff game. This was when he played for the Nets, against the Denver Nuggets. As the clock was running out with the Nets in the lead, he stole the ball at mid court and headed toward the basket. He took off near the foul line, did his dunk just before the buzzer and continued straight through to the locker room, without breaking stride. The crowd at the Nassau Coliseum went absolutely bonkers.

        • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 23, 2013 at 12:33 am


          ESPN was not around at the beginning of Erving’s career so they do not have nearly the same extensive “film library” on him as compared to Michael Jordan. If ESPN had been there in the 70s, you would see a lot more “tribute highlights” to The Doctor than you do today.

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