Thursday, May 25, 2006
Page 2 Quickie: May 25, 2006
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
A new recurring series throughout the NBA Western Conference finals, where I channel Mavs owner Mark Cuban and project the next posting on his BlogMaverick blog:
"Boris Diaw walked! Boris Diaw walked! Go back and check the replay of that final, game-winning shot. Do they teach that foot shuffle in France? (Maybe I'll e-mail Tony Parker ... he's got some time on his hands now. )
"I'm not sure what bothers me most:
"That we let Diaw have the best game of his career (34 pts)?
"That we let our previously 'improved' defense lapse to allow the Suns to shoot 55 percent?
"That we let Steve Nash come into my house and have his best game of the playoffs (27 pts, 11-18 FG, 16 assists)?
"(Now, all that people will focus on is the tired story line that I let him go two seasons ago, and all he's done since is win two MVPs. Please: Never won them for us!)
"Or that Josh Howard, our most versatile player, our glue, hurt his ankle and his status is unknown for Game 2?
"No one is a more positive Mavs fan than me, so let me spin it this way:
"If we could lose such a valuable part of our rotation and still come within a last-second make (by a guy having a career night!) of winning, I still feel good about our chances.
"LET'S GO MAVS!"
Bonds is stuck on 714 after a DNP last night. His much-talked-about (but little-viewed) TV show "Bonds on Bonds" has been shelved.
The message is clear: No one cares anymore. And this saga has become an instant classic as a case study in sports story lines:
(1) Flicker of interest: That was the start of the season, when people like me declared that "Bonds 715" would be the plotline of the season.
(2) National mania: It reached its peak in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, where fans jeered lustily (and creatively) and the media packed the stadium to see Bonds blast No. 713.
(3) Widespread backlash: In the 3 weeks since, fans have tired of the wait, expressing frustration with 24/7 Bonds coverage.
(4) No one cares anymore: Since Bonds hit No. 714 on Saturday, fans have stopped paying attention; the media quickly follows.
When Bonds finally hits 715, will fans care to notice? Has there ever been a bigger sports milestone with less buzz in the final moments before it happens?
Oh, you can be sure it'll be the lead story when he does pass Ruth, but the biggest snub isn't jeremiads from sportswriters or boos from fans at Giants road games who pay to vent frustration.
Putting "Bonds on Bonds" on hiatus is the symbol: The biggest snub fans and media could deliver to Bonds is silence as we stop paying attention to him.
MLB Hit List
Tigers keep rolling: OK, so it was another win over the Royals, but who's gonna gripe about having baseball's best record?
Still, you know it's a special year when little-used infielder Omar Infante can jack 2 HRs (and rack up 7 hits in 12 at-bats in Detroit's 3-game sweep).
Yankees-Red Sox rivalry: We've been reduced to name-calling. The Sox think A-Rod showboated on his Tuesday HR; the Yankees claim Manny did the same thing Monday. Someone get the whiners a few tissues.
Fantasy stud: Carl Crawford. Collects 5 H (including a HR), scores 5 R and has 4 SB. (Oh, and his Rays beat the Jays, too.)
Maddux's miserable May: Greg Maddux remained winless in May after being shellacked for 6 R in 6 IP in a L to the Marlins. Remember his hot April? Me neither.
Mets trade for El Duque: Setting up a much-anticipated contest with ageless teammate Julio Franco; the over-under on their combined real ages will be 90.
Wow, David Ortiz sure is clutch against the Yankees.
Duke Lacrosse Update
The Duke women's lacrosse team made news when it was reported that some team members will sport sweatbands saying "Innocent" during the women's NCAA Tournament.
Here are five alternative suggestions for one-word slogans that might have been more appropriate:
"Embarrassing": It's an appropriate way to thank the men's team for turning the name "Duke lacrosse" into a punch line.
"Focused": To the women wearing the signage: Are you more concerned with making some big look-at-me statement ... or winning a title?
"Misogyny": Because regardless of the criminal charges, by backing their male counterparts, that's effectively what they're supporting.
"Flip-Flops": Ah, remember the good old days when the biggest scandal in college lacrosse was when the 2005 women's champs from Northwestern wore flip-flops on their visit to the White House?
"Rozelle": Super Bowl XX? Jim McMahon? Anyone? Anyone? (Or have I dated myself?)
In high school, I once wore a suspended teammate's name on my jersey as a show of "solidarity." To this day, I am embarrassed I did it.
Jeb Bush: No to NFL?
Jeb Bush deflected rumors that he was asked by the NFL to be its next commissioner, and thank goodness for that.
Yesterday, I heard from a lot of admittedly partisan folks from Florida who were not recommending Jeb Bush's tenure as governor of Florida as a quality reference for the job of NFL commissioner.
Putting aside the issue of his competency as an administrator, politics is precisely why this would be a horrible idea:
The NFL is about transcending the blue-red divide that currently bisects the country; it's in the league's best interests to have a leader who maintains that tradition.
What would have happened when up to half the NFL fans around the country suddenly were alienated by the league if it hired such a visibly partisan political figure?
And even though it sounds like he has pre-emptively turned down the job, it might still be unsettling to some fans that he was even asked.
Nike + iPod
I love my iPod. (Latest purchases: Gnarls Barkley for me; Snow Patrol for Mrs. Quickie; Dan Zanes and Friends for Li'l Gabe; and the new "PTI" podcast for all of us).
I love Nikes. (Latest purchase: Free Trainers to push the new stroller in style.)
Alas, here's my issue with the newly announced combination of the two:
When I run, I like to maintain an illusion I'm actually keeping a minimal pace. What happens when I learn I'm an even slower and more pathetic runner than I suspect I am?
"Idol" Finale Wrap
Taylor Hicks winning "American Idol" is like the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004.
Even as Boston's title signaled the apex of baseball's 21st century renaissance, it had an unsettling and unexpected consequence:
Where could the sport possibly go from there to top it? (The short answer: Nowhere.) Everything after it has necessarily been a letdown.
Similarly, Hicks' "Idol" win is arguably the greatest triumph in the short, shallow history of reality TV: He was the ultimate underdog.
If you tracked his progress from his first audition (where mean judge Simon Cowell didn't even pick him to advance), his was an unlikely success:
Taylor wasn't good-looking, like Ace. He wasn't polished, like McPhee. He didn't have the pipes of Elliott or the pedigree of Paris.
Taylor was a little chubby. He had an uneven voice. His dance moves were spastic. He had GRAY HAIR, for God's sake! (This, on a show aimed at teenagers! Uh, and, um, and for others of us.)
In "Idol" seasons past, the most deserving singer has won it. Now, the tipping-point dynamic has emerged: Entertainment value over talent.
(Again, reference the 2004 Red Sox: When the White Sox won last year, their drought was as long and the way they won compellingly dominating, if not as dramatic. Yet it paled in comparison to the '04 Sox run.)
The problem with "Idol" hitting a high-water mark is that -- like baseball after MLB Nation could "die in peace" after 2004 -- now the show has nowhere to go but down.