RIP Dusty Rhodes…

Sitting down at the keyboard this AM, one of the first things I came across on was an article reporting that former pro ‘rassler, Dusty Rhodes, has died. Rhodes was a young kid just starting his career about the time I stopped following pro ‘rassling and given the shortened lifespan of many pro ‘rasslers I was glad to see that he had made it to age 69 before passing on.

RIP, Dusty Rhodes…

The next report that caught my eye said that Terrell Owens thinks he could make a comeback in the NFL if a team were willing to give him a shot. Owens is 41 years old – and would turn 42 during the upcoming NFL season – and his last appearance on the field in an NFL game was in 2010. As with many news items, it can always be worse… Imagine if T.O. gets a call from a team inviting him to training camp; you just know that within 3 days there would be a report that Brett Favre was considering a return to the NFL also…

    Memo to NFL Coaches: I am never in favor of “blackballing” anyone. Nevertheless, consider the circus you might create if you have T. O. in your locker room – and the mega-circus you might create if it tempted Brett Favre to start up the “Will he/Won’t he” wagon again.

Two institutions that rarely generate any positive response from me – the US Congress and the NCAA – have intersected in a news item today. Four members of the House of Representatives – two Democrats and two Republicans – have introduced legislation that would create a 17-member Presidential Commission for Intercollegiate Athletics. According to reports, this commission would “examine college sports issues such as the education of athletes, how the sports are financed, health and safety, and due process in infractions cases.” Oh swell…

Look, I cannot possibly be totally opposed to anything that either spanks the NCAA or holds it up to ridicule. At the same time, this proposed legislation also points to the fecklessness of the Congress. Consider:

    Do we need a Presidential Commission to reveal that some – probably many – schools cut academic corners when it comes to athletes who play “revenue sports”? Seriously, if anyone needs this, he/she has been living in a cave for the last 60 or 70 years.

    Do we need a Presidential Commission to reveal that some – probably much – of the financing for college athletics is “off the books”?

    Do we need a Presidential Commission to look at the health and safety issues of collegiate sports? In fact, if the courts rule that college athletes are actually employees of the schools, would not that be OSHA’s responsibility?

    Do we need a Presidential Commission to ponder the presence or absence of due process in infractions cases? Unless I missed the point in my civics classes in junior high school, I think that is what the judicial branch of government is supposed to do.

Moreover, if Congress creates the Presidential Commission, that would give the Congress the opening it would need to hold periodic hearings on these matters in the guise of “oversight” on the commission they established to oversee college sports. I need that like a giraffe needs a clarinet.

    Memo to these 4 Congressthings: Congratulations on your bi-partisanship here. Now, try applying that bi-partisanship to something that actually matters to the country.

The venue for home games by the Arizona Coyotes is back in the news. Recall that the NHL took over the franchise to keep it in Arizona rather than let a buyer move the franchise to “southern Ontario”. Part of the deal was a favorable least arrangement with the city of Glendale Arizona to keep the team there. That deal calls for the city to pay the Coyotes $15M a year to play in the arena; I would call that a “favorable lease”; how about you? Now, it seems that the city is running a projected $7M deficit for the year and can resolve that issue by abrogating the lease deal; the city fathers just voted to do just that.

Of course, this is going to wind up in court and will not be settled posthaste. It is not as if the Coyotes are going to have to find frozen ponds on which to play their games – which is a good thing because frozen ponds tend to be hard to come by in Arizona. However, this is an opportunity for the NHL to recognize that hockey is not nearly as economically viable in the “Sun Belt” as it is in many other parts of North America. Just as the Coyotes should have been moved when the league had to take over the franchise about 5 years ago, a franchise that needs to be paid by the city to play in the city’s arena needs to be moved today. So where might it go?

    The best idea would be to move the franchise to Canada where the league draws a disproportionate amount of its revenue because there is a much more extensive and solid fanbase there. The Coyotes began their existence as the Winnipeg Jets – but Winnipeg has found itself a team to replace the one that left.

      Quebec City: They have been without an NHL team for about 25 years since the Nordiques left to become the Colorado Avalanche.

      Hamilton: This is a more specific name for “southern Ontario”, but it might work.

      Regina or Saskatoon: The league has no franchise in Saskatchewan and the NHL has been adamant that it needs a “national footprint”. I leave it to folks far more knowledgeable about Canadian geography and economics to decide if either city would make sense.

    If, for reasons known only to Gary Bettman and the powers-that-be in the NHL, the franchise must remain in the US.

      KC: It has an underutilized modern arena waiting for a tenant.

      Seattle: It really wants an NBA team more than an NHL team but this could be a way to have a tenant in whatever new arena they want to build there while the NBA keeps them dangling.

      Portland: They support a basketball team and a team in the WHL rather well…

Finally, I missed this this item whilst on vacation but Bob Molinaro had it in his column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Quick hit: Johnny Manziel was in the news this week for throwing a water bottle at a young dope who was heckling him as he hung out with friends in Dallas. It’s the most attention one of Johnny Football’s tosses has attracted since the Browns drafted him.”

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

14 thoughts on “RIP Dusty Rhodes…”

  1. Sir:

    In reference to your recent review of a rodeo, I thought of something that author Christopher Buckley wrote about his late father, arch-conservative William F Buckley:

    “When Mum was in full prevarication, Pup would assume an expression somewhere between a Jack Benny stare and the stoic grimace of a 13th-century saint being burned at the stake. ”

    I somehow imagine you may have had that same expression as you experienced the rodeo.

    1. steve:

      The look on my face was probably more along the lines of “Can we get out of here yet?”

      Christopher Buckley’s writing might indicate that “a way with words” is passed on genetically, no?

  2. Las Vegas has a nearly completed arena for NHL hockey, along with 10,000 people who have signed up for season tickets. I have been watching its construction as we make our weekly commute to see our granddaughters. If I am correct, no public money has been used to finance the venue.
    I would think that Canadian fans would love to make a mid-winter trip to Sin City to see their favorite NHL team play here.

    1. Rich:

      I had forgotten about the Las Vegas push for an arena and an NHL team. I would definitely consider them one of the “US destination cities” even though I suspect that ice hockey is not one of the premier games of choice for kids who grow up there. Las Vegas has the same “lack of frozen ponds issue” that Glendale AZ has…

  3. I’m a Portland Winterhawks (WHL) season ticket holder and also an old Portland Buckaroos fan and I have my autographed Con Madigan jersey to prove it. If the NHL comes to Portland, and its a long shot, the Winterhawks probably won’t survive and they’ve been here since 1976.
    We’ve gotten to see Marian Hossa, Brendan Morrow, Brayden Coburn, Seth Jones and so many others play before making it to the NHL. The Winterhawks are a great franchise with a rich history in regards to its players. It would be a shame to see them go.

    1. Trent:

      I agree; the Winterhawks would have to go somewhere else to survive if the NHL moved into Portland. I agree that Portland is a long-shot in this sweepstakes – if indeed the NHL allows even the possibility of a move – but the presence of that existing arena with the history of hockey support means it has to be on the list.

  4. As for the hockey – Hamilton would likely have reparations to Toronto and Buffalo to pay. Probably the big money around there is Blackberry – and the NHL apparently hates Balsillie. Messy.

    Saskatoon? An area with a metro population of 300K? Too small. You can say Green Bay, but TV keeps the NFL alive.

    Quebec City has a good shot. Barring settling the Hamilton issues, maybe the best choice.

    Please note Manziel threw a water bottle AT a fan. I do not know if the guy was wearing a Brwons jersey, but that seems likely, as Manziel missed him.

    1. Ed:

      If the NHL MUST have teams in Florida, Texas and Arizona for a “national footprint”, then why not Saskatoon or Regina where the population might be a lot smaller but where a huge fraction of the people living there grew up playing and/or following ice hockey? Why is a “national footprint” in the US more important than a “national footprint” in Canada where a greater fraction of the populace gives a damn about the sport?

      You said the population of Saskatooon is 300K; I agree that is a tad on the small side for an NHL franchise. But consider putting the team in Albuquerque – just to pick another Sun Belt City – where the population is about 570K. I think Saskatoon is a “more viable market” for an NHL team than Albuquerque despite the fact that Albuquerque has about 65% more people. The NHL just does not belong in the Sun Belt except in extraordinary circumstances.

      1. Oh, I am not defending Phoenix… though they had a better chance of the arena was on the other side of the city – I just see Quebec of Hamilton as better than Saskatoon. The only southern city I MIGHT consider is Houston . And not expansion – maybe from Phoenix. I think they should have taken the Blackberry money

  5. Regarding Kansas City. I don’t see the NHL going back there. KC had hockey in the 1970’s and it failed. The team moved and became the NJ Devils.

    1. Trent:

      Winnipeg lost a team and then got one back later on. The same would be true if the NHL ever put a team in Quebec City.

      I stipulate that hockey is not nearly as ingrained in KC as it would be in a place like Quebec City but the new factor in KC is that modern arena – which was not there before.

      Should the Coyotes – or any existing/expansion NHL franchise – become “available”, I expect Seattle and Las Vegas to go after it vigorously making KC a long-shot in the race.

  6. Terrell Owens: his ability to tear up opposing team differences was nothing compared to his ability to tear up his own team’s cohesion. He remains yet another professional football player who could not get the elusive ring.

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