Tip Of The Hat To Tony Kornheiser

For those of you who did not read the Washington Post from about 1980 until 2005, you probably only know Tony Kornheiser as the host of Pardon the Interruption or as one-third of the MNF announcing team for a couple of years. In addition to those credits, Tony Kornheiser was an accomplished columnist at the Post; and if he was still writing sports columns today, he would be on the list on the left side of this website under the heading “Columnists I Read”. I mention this because in his sports columns, he frequently referred to the Washington Capitals as “choking dogs” due to their tendency to get nice leads in Stanley Cup playoff series only to lose that lead and the series.

Were he still writing, the Caps would be “choking dogs” again this year. They led the Rangers 2-0 in the playoffs and then they led 3-2. The series went to a Game 7 and in typical “choking dog” fashion; the Caps lost Game 7 by the blowout score of 5-0. That win by the Rangers was the first time in franchise history that the Rangers had won a Game 7 on the road – and recall that the Rangers have been around since 1926. Let me put that game in perspective for you:

    A. Losing any hockey game 5-0 is bad.

    B. Losing a hockey game 5-0 on your home ice is shameful.

    C. Losing a hockey game 5-0 on your home ice in the 7th game of a Stanley Cup playoff series ought to be sufficiently embarrassing so as to send everyone in the organization into hiding for at least 6 weeks.

    D. The first question someone should have asked the Caps at the obligatory news conference after that game is, “Who let the dogs out?”

The Washington front-running fans behaved in their typical fashion. They left the building early in the third period when the Rangers scored their third goal. It is fashionable for Caps fans to wear the red Capitals jerseys to home games and the marketing slogan is:

    “Rock the Red”

If truth in advertising principles were to apply here, that would need modification to:

    “Rock the Red – – So Long As We Are Ahead”

Alex Ovechkin disappeared in the series scoring all of 1 goal in 7 games. Here is how Charles P. Pierce described Ovechkin’s performance in Game 7 at Grantland.com:

“Alex Ovechkin, for example, skated all over the ice, hitting everything except the net. (Ovechkin finished the series with one goal, but he was credited with 13 hits Monday night, and 13 hits is great if you happen to be the Supremes, but not so hot if you’re one of the most gifted offensive hockey players on the planet.)”

In other hockey news, Iron Mike Keenan has another coaching gig – this time in Russia in the Kontinental Hockey League. To say that Keenan can be abrasive at times is sort of like saying that Sally Struthers may have gone back to the buffet table for seconds once in a while. The announcement of his hiring prompted Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register to Tweet:

“Mike Keenan hired by Mettalurg Magnitogorosk of KHL. And they thought Putin was a tough guy.”

Switching gears, the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League are assembling an amazing roster for this season – providing they can find a way to turn the clock back to about 2005. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Ducks recently signed Carlos Zambrano to pitch for them adding to previous signings that include Josh Barfield (no longer on the roster), Ben Broussard, Ramon Castro, Vladimir Guerrero (no longer on the roster), Ian Snell and Dontrelle Willis. The Ducks are in third place this morning in the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League (there are only 4 teams in the division) with a record of 8-16. Nonetheless, they stand only 2.5 games out of first place in that division because the Bridgeport Bluefish lead the division at 11-14.

In the Atlantic League, it would appear as if the “powerhouse team” is in the Freedom Division. The Sugar Land Skeeters lead that division with a current record of 22-3. The Skeeters have 6 players hitting .295 or higher as of this morning and 11 pitchers with an ERA less than 3.00 – including three relievers who have yet to give up a run this year.

The West Michigan Whitecaps play in the Midwest League as the A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The Whitecaps play their home games at Fifth Third Field where you can – if you dare – obtain a Fifth Third Burger. Here are the makings of the Fifth Third Burger:

    5 burger patties each at 1/3 of a pound each with a slice of cheese on it.
    Chips with nacho cheese, sour cream and salsa.
    Tomato and lettuce – and –
    A hamburger bun that weighs 1 pound.

This “snack” packs 4,890 calories. If you can finish it by yourself, you get a T-shirt and you get your picture hung in a “Hall of Fame” among other gourmands.

Finally, I sent an e-mail to Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) making sure that he had seen an item in Time Magazine reporting that 78,000 folks had “signed up” to be considered for a one-way trip to Mars. I suggested to him that I had a long list of folks that I would be happy to see on that trip – with the guarantee that it was indeed a one-way trip. Here is the response I got back from Dwight Perry:

“Actually, it’s 77,999. Dennis Rodman’s application is considered a return flight.”

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

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  • Peter  On May 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I’m still trying to figure out what an independent league (i.e., shoestring budget) team located one hour south of Houston is doing in a league where all other teams are in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. That is one long-ass bus ride. Or maybe the team is owned by an airline.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm


      What about the travel costs incurred by all those East Coast teams that have to get to and from Sugar Land TX just for a couple of games and then head back to the NY/NJ/PA area? All the teams are not owned by airlines…

      • Peter  On May 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        See, that’s what I get for commenting here before my seventh cup of coffee. The TX team obviously has a much better deal. At least the Skeeters get to visit Newark and Camden on the same road trip.

  • Al  On May 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I’m glad you educated the young ‘uns out there about Tony’s journalistic past. I’m a big fan of his, but I always thought his career arc can best be described as: getting paid more and more for things he’s less and less good at.

    He was a humor columnist (among the very best in the country), then began focusing almost exclusively on sports columns (still excellent), then got into TV work on ESPN (very good), and then did the MNF stint (um, well, sort of OK).

    I know it’ll never happen, but I always hope he’ll go back to his roots and write a regular humor column again and drop the TV schtick.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm


      As I said, he would be on the blogroll of “Columnists I Read” here if he was still writing columns somewhere. However, if the reports are correct about what he is making on radio/TV, there is little if any chance that he will return to his roots as “an ink-stained wretch”.

      I read somewhere – but cannot locate it for citation here – that he made $1.6M per year from ESPN for MNF and is now making $900K from ESPN for PTI. Even with deep-pocketed folks like Warren Buffet buying into the newspaper business, I just do not see any way for him to make anything more than 10-20% of those numbers with a newspaper.

      • Doug  On May 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm

        My view of Tony is similar to Al’s, but at $900K I hardly blame him for staying with PTI.

  • Ed  On May 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Zambrano went to a lower minor league team – the Phillies.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On May 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm


      Just found a link to that story. That is a shock to me; it sort of implies that the Phillies think they actually have a shot at the playoffs/World Series this year. They do not…

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