Commentary

Power Rankings: Dirkdevil pride

Originally Published: June 13, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

We're all one step closer to having Mark Cuban ruling the known universe in the ESPN.com Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer wasted Sunday night trying (and failing) to line up any of the losing nominees at the Tony Awards to sing "One Shining Moment" as a wrap-up for the NBA Finals postgame coverage. Sorry, computer, you can only use that song once a year. That's why it's not called "Two Shining Moments." To the results!

1. Mavs elimination game

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.9 9.8 19.7

Credentials: You could tell there was an urgency for Dirk and his daredevils (Dirkdevils?) to wrap things up in Game 6. But was it possible for them to win three in a row to ice this series? Was there any way they could prevail in a South Florida Game 7? It's all about mindset, and Nowitzki proved he was MVP-worthy by purposely missing all those shots in Sunday's first half. Hey, it's called reverse psychology, and it forced everyone else to step up. It's the closest a 7-foot tall German guy will ever come in his life to subtlety, so deal with it. You saw what happened the last time LeBron James tried reverse psychology on an entire city. No one should ever try reverse psychology, unless you can pull it off. And we certainly don't trust you to pull it off. You are not Dirkdevil material.


2. Mark Cuban

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.2 18.7

Credentials: Finally, there's the ultimate feather in the cap for the guy who can afford to corner the market in golden geese. We salute the Mavericks owner for making good on the job he started in 2000, but we don't know if we're any happier for you.


3. Vanishing LeBron

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.2 8.4 16.6

Credentials: Well, there's certainly no such thing as a boring summer vacation in the James household. What's it going to take for The King to get his confidence back? We're at a loss for advice, other than we'd strongly the Boys & Girls Club to hold a fundraiser for him. That's the least they owe him in his time of need.


4. Merry Ol' Cleveland

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: Summer just got a little easier in a certain corner of Ohio, and not just because the Indians are impersonating an AL Central contender. In fact, everyone's so giddy they'd get a big laugh if next week David Stern glides to the podium at the NBA draft to say, "Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers have announced that they've already sacrificed the No. 4 overall pick to the glory of the basketball gods for the act of bitter, bitter revenge." Like there was any better use for that pick anyway.


5. Mike Tyson

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.6 14.8

Credentials: When in Canastota, N.Y., be sure to visit the International Boxing Hall of Fame, into which the ex-heavyweight champ and Sylvester Stallone were inducted on Sunday. And while Rocky hammed it up for the crowd, Iron Mike clammed up and fled the mic in less than two minutes. That, plus he was in a hurry to catch a flight to be inducted later that day into the International Face Tattoo Hall of Fame.


6. Stanley Cup goaltending

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: Who would you rather have in net with the NHL postseason on the line? Boston's Tim Thomas and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo are almost equally capable of pitching a shutout or making you think they've been distracted while trying to remember if the chemical formula for water is the same as the chemical formula for ice. "Wait. If H2O is water, then is it H30 that makes everything so cold, or H1O? What's that loud air horn noise going off? Is that in any way related to the red light that just started shining behind me? Dang, that's the second time that's happened in the past three minutes."


7. Rundown Wrigley Field

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.6 10.9

Credentials: Baseball guru Peter Gammons had this assessment of the Chicago Cubs' financial situation: That the Ricketts family is going to have to sink $200 million into renovating their "dump" of a ballpark. Well, there's a simple way to start cutting into that. In every new player contract that gets drawn up, hide a paragraph in there somewhere that the player is obligated to send his domestic help to 1060 West Addison Street and spend a day sprucing up -- maybe sweeping the bleachers, watering the outfield ivy, removing dead rats from the urinal troughs. Everybody pitch in!


8. MLB realignment

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.3 10.5

Credentials: Good news for the designated hitter job pool: Baseball owners and players are batting around the idea of redrawing the standings in the interest of having two 15-team leagues. Now the question is which sad sack National League team will cross -- or be pushed -- over the line? It's reported that the Florida Marlins would volunteer for an AL makeover if it will boost attendance. But right now they're focusing their energy on getting Miami Heat fans to realign their season-ticket packages and show up for baseball games. Hey, all it would take is 2,000 people from the AmericanAirlines Arena cheap seats to show up and Marlins attendance would double overnight.


9. Tiger's caddie

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.5 9.7

Credentials: Because there's no Tiger Woods in the U.S. Open, we have to come up with "Tiger Woods is not in the U.S. Open!" storylines. And here's a good one: His longtime New Zealand caddie Steve Williams will be lugging the bag of Australia's Adam Scott. Attention U.S. Open reporters: While talking to Williams, see if you can get him to make the Freudian slip of referring to this weekend not as "caddying" but as "networking."


10. Jeter milestone

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.1 9.2

Credentials: Who's ready for the latest, greatest entry into Yankees lore? The only way The Captain's march toward 3,000 hits could become any more mythic is if on his way to the game he visited Joba Chamberlain in the hospital and vowed to get on base to lift the gentle kid's wounded spirits.


11. Ohio State graduation

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.4 8.6

Credentials: Buckeyes president E. Gordon Gee did his best to work the room when he spoke before a record 9,700 graduates and 40,000 spectators at Ohio Stadium. He called the school's climate of "disappointment and tumult" a "temporary condition." At which point in the speech, if we were sitting in the front row, we would have felt duty-bound to heckle him with, "Temporary, huh? So it's not permanent, like, say, a tattoo?" Thank you, we'll be here all week.


12. IndyCar lottery

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.1 3.4 7.5

Credentials: Saturday night's race at Texas Motor Speedway was supposed to have a sure-fire gimmick: It would be the first major open-wheel double-feature start in almost 30 years. And in the first race, Dario Franchitti scored a big win and gained ground in the season points race. But the order for the second race was picked in a blind draw, and he got screwed into starting 28th. Meanwhile, as luck would have it, series leader Will Power hit the jackpot with a ticket to start third in the pack, which he used to speed along and pad his points lead. Franchitti is right to be fuming. But it could have been worse: The driver who drew the short straw had to compete in the second twin by riding atop Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice.


13. Guadeloupe's soccer team

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.2 3.4 6.6

Credentials: After being upset by Panama, the U.S. men's soccer team faces a must-win match Tuesday night in Kansas City against Guadeloupe to advance in CONCACAF Gold Cup play. Ideally, Guadeloupe's soccer team is one the Yanks would leave in the rearview mirror. But you might want to tune in to this match and pay attention to the faces. Because if there's no NFL this fall, it's rumored HBO will go after Guadeloupe's soccer team to be the star of this fall's season of "Hard Knocks."


Also receiving votes
• Father's Day gifts: Forget the things you've gotten him a million times before: tacky ties, cheap cologne, unfunny golf humor books, a "Magnum, P.I.: The Complete Seventh Season" DVD box set. This year's hot ticket item? A coupon for your local tattoo parlor. He could use it to depict an as-yet-unfulfilled bucket list goal; he could honor his favorite college football team, or maybe he'll just go with the traditional "Mom" and a heart. Yes, nothing says father/son bonding like the gift of ink.

Never receiving votes
• Los Angeles football stadium: The proposed 72,000-seat venue hasn't even been built yet, but the guy who's in charge of the blueprints says he's already talked to five interested NFL teams. News flash to fans in Minnesota, St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and Jacksonville: Yes, everything in L.A. comes down to a casting couch. Just try to keep your dignity, so that whether your team gets the starring role or not you can still respect yourself in the morning.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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