Quick Editors Note: Congratulations is in order to my brother in arms, life and blogging, Fletch, who is back from his new marriage and honeymoon…Please wish him the best, or give him a heads up on the worst…
It’s been several weeks since I last submitted something to this fine blog as I’ve spent those weeks planning a wedding, having a wedding, and then going on a honeymoon. Something happened during the week that led up to the May 24 wedding date and the week following that has me rethinking a huge portion of my life. During that two week span I watched a grand total of ONE sporting event. It was Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and although my Penguins lost, I stewed in the disappointment for only a few minutes before I went back to enjoying the beach with my new wife. It was nice to separate myself from the mess that is the Cleveland Indians and my absolute disgust at the NBA. I didn’t even watch Sportscenter for those two weeks, and I felt great. I love sports, but after my self-imposed exile I realized that I might be able to survive without the constant heartache and disappointment that they seem to give me. So, I am announcing here and now that I am moving to a beach community and allowing my ulcers and nerves a chance to rest…at least until football season.
Can I live without sports? Absolutely not! So, here are a few random thoughts from the week since I’ve returned to normality.
Not since the Lakers and Pacers played in the Finals back in 1999-2000 have I had so little interest in who won the championship. Back then, and even now, I dislike both teams so much that no matter who wins I will still feel a sense of dissatisfaction with the outcome. Back then it was Reggie Miller and Shaq that caused me such displeasure, and now it is the Kobe v. the “Big Three” DREAM matchup that is causing me as much comfort as a hemorrhoid. This is exactly what the NBA wanted to have happen. David Stern could be heard the night Boston clinched over the Pistons jumping around his home declaring himself a genius for saving the league. Thank God for him, because the last thing anyone wanted to see was another brilliant performance by the San Antonio Spurs over a far inferior team. Ratings will go through the roof with the reinvention of one of the greatest sports rivalries of all time. Unfortunately, there is no Magic and no Bird. There is no matchup between the two premier dynasties of the time. It is simply the best player in the game leading his team up against a team that has bought and paid for a championship. The idea behind this “Dream” Final is lost because there is no history between these teams and their players just between the uniforms they are wearing. Magic v. Bird was historic, Kobe v. Garnett will never be as important to the history of the game or as memorable.
NBA Part II, Paul Pierce
For the love of God, if I hear Paul Pierce refereed to as a brave, courageous hero one more time I may never watch another NBA game for the rest of my life. His performance in Game 1 deserves a Tony Award, not the praise of every media outlet in the country as Willis Reed-esque. I say Tony Award because an Oscar doesn’t quite fit the stage performance of this modern day Messiah. Pierce was so convincing in his overacted drama queen roll in Game 1 that he may be taking over for Nathan Lane in “The Producers” come next year. He and the media have painted this picture of a man who’s leg was ready to fall off, just to staple it together and come back into the game to save the Celtics. The truth is, he was never that hurt. Sure, the initial pain had to be both excruciating and terrifying. But I can’t believe for one second that this injury was season threatening the way he bounced back onto the court after 1:05. That’s right, one minute and five seconds after he left the court, he was back. I believe it hurt, and that he felt discomfort, but the way he thrived and rolled around on the court you’d have thought he’d been shot. No season ending injury fixes itself in the matter of 65 seconds. He overreacted, and every sportswriter in the building blew it out of proportion. We need to reserve words like bravery, courage, and hero to men and women who actually deserve it. The man who saves a child from a burning building but gives his own is courageous and brave. Not someone who plays a kid’s game for a living. He had a great performance…and that’s it.
What the… What…what happened? I left for my honeymoon and they were in bad shape, but what it the hell happened since then. I turned on a game and saw a kid pitching that I’ve never heard of. Jake Westbrook was activated from the DL just to be put back on it and Fausto is also on the DL. There are so many times when a team has high expectations on them, and it seems like everything goes wrong. They can’t hit, their pitching is good, but the pitchers are falling apart, and their strengths have become giant weaknesses. I don’t have any solution of what to do, but something needs to change. Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge promised the people of Cleveland a contender by 2005, and they gave us one. I think it is important for these men to understand that the people of Cleveland don’t want a one-year wonder. They want to contend every year. Shapiro is giving money to our young nucleus, but they have become just as big a problem as everything else has. I would hate to think that by locking these young guys up would ultimately handcuff the team for many many years. They still over 100 or so games to go, and in the MLB, especially this year, who knows what can happen. But I hate to think this is another example of the Cleveland curse biting the fans of such a great city on the butt…. again.
The big winners of the past few weeks have been the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. As much as it pains me to say this, I applaud the Wings and their Stanley Cup win. I am a big hockey fan, and have followed the Pittsburgh Penguins for many years. I was so excited to see them in the finals again, and even though they lost, I was so proud of the team that was days from being relocated and torn apart making a push for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Now, during football season the city of Pittsburgh can bite my…you know. But as a resident of the “Rust Belt” it was nice to see the boys from Pittsburgh making it to the championship game against incredible in-house odds. I was so impressed with the way the series went. This matchup was the best Stanley Cup in many years, because it had everything a fan could want. Non-stop action and incredible individual performances made this must watch television. I’ve said all along that the NHL is one of the most fun sporting events to watch and attend. They have fallen on hard times in the past ten years, but with the right people in place, this could be a launching pad for the league to get back to where it was in the mid-90’s. It isn’t very often that the NHL outdoes the NBA, but this year it did and it gives all hockey fans something to look forward to next season.