Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Things you just can't do in sports

In Game 3 of the Spurs-Suns series, Bruce Bowen did what no man, woman, or child should ever do to another competitor during a sporting event. He purposely kneed a man (Steve Nash) in the groin. (click on title to see a video of the heinous crime)

It literally pains me to write that last sentence. There is not a man alive who, when they see another man get hit in that priceless of areas, does not cringe in empathy.

Unless a wiffle ball bat is involved. For some reasons, whenever a guy gets hit by a wiffle ball bat, it’s funny. One of nature’s mysteries I guess, along with swallows of Capistrano, Fibonacci numbers, and the comedy of Carrot Top.

The “hitting another man in the groin” is one of the Six Unforgivable Crimes Known to Sports (aka S.U.C.K.S). Not familiar with what SUCKS? I know a lot of sports fans think they know what SUCKS, but outside of Devil Ray fans, none really do.

So in our never-ending effort to educate the average sports fan, this is what SUCKS:

1. Hitting another man in the groin
(aka low blow) see Bowen, Bruce; Golota, Andrew

2. Telling on or writing a book about a teammate who cheated
(aka ratting out; selling out) see Canseco, Jose; Bouton, Jim

3. Throwing a punch then running away
(aka sucker punching) see Anthony, Carmelo; Mayweather, Floyd

4. Faking an injury
(aka jaking it, crybaby) see Divac, Vlade; entire soccer playing world

5. Taking drugs…without also taking effective masking agents
(aka being lazy) see Landis, Floyd; Williams, Ricky; Williams, Ricky; Williams, Ricky (oh you get the point)

6. Having your wife/mother/significant other complain on your behalf
(aka being whipped) see McNabb, Donovan; Benson, Kris; Clinton, Hilary

Despite his egregious SUCKS violation, the mighty brain trust of the NBA deemed that Bowen only deserved a slap on the wrist. This same brain trust also thought making players wear suits would clean up the game. Now, where am I supposed to get the latest in urban fashion trends Mr Stern?!

Well, I am not so forgiving. I have decided to put Bowen on the official “I am not sharing my ball with you!” list of disgraced athletes. Congratulations Bruce Bowen, if that’s your real name, for being a charter member of this undistinguished group. I am sure you won’t be the last.

I’m keeping my eye on you Michael Vick!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Big Flight

Vegas was abuzz this week in anticipation of Saturday night’s big fight. It’d been a long time since a legitimate mega-fight took place in Las Vegas, a town that was use to hosting a “fight of the century” every 6 months. This fight was like an old friend visiting after a long time away. You know that friend who would visit, crash at your place, and skyrocket up gambling, hotel, and dining revenues for you. That kind of friend.

And unlike the NBA All-Star game, this friend doesn’t make you wet your pants in fear.

With it also being Kentucky Derby weekend and Cinco de Mayo, not a single dollar was spent in town that wasn’t soaked in tequila or mint julep.

(Editor’s Note- Friends don’t let friends bet drunk. Especially betting $500 on the 56-1 shot at the Derby because “he looks endowed.”)

So after months of build up, it was finally fight time and we would get answered one the sport’s most pressing questions: Can the Golden Boy actually win a big fight?

He gets all kinds of credit for taking on these tough fights. “Boy, that Oscar sure doesn’t duck anyone. He takes on all comers. What a tough guy.” Of course they neglect to mention the tiny fact that he makes $20 million and he never wins these fights. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I could do the same thing. I would fight anyone if it got me even one million and, I guarantee, I would lose too.

But everyone believed in Oscar. They believed in him so much so that the betting line that started at Mayweather being a healthy 2 to 1 favorite dropped so far that some sports books in town had Mayweather at only –155! (that means you had to bet $155 to win $100, about a 1.5 to1 favorite). That’s called “love betting.” Like a Royals’ fan betting them to win the World Series at the beginning of the season. Or a guy dating a stripper and betting that being with him will turn her off from giving lap dances to Asian businessmen.

There was a lot of love in the air when Pretty Boy started his way to the ring Saturday night. Decked out in Mexican garb and a sombrero, we all laughed at his moxie. Then I thought, in these racially and ethnically sensitive times, shouldn’t I be appalled by this clear affront to the proud Mexican people, and on Cinco de Mayo of all days?

(Another editor’s note- Cinco de Mayo is to real Mexicans what St. Patrick’s Day is to the real Irish. A really unimportant holiday that Americans have co-opted into a liver damaging, marketing campaign.)

Okay editor, enough. You made me lose my train of thought. Where was I? Oh yeah. I am all offended and stuff that Mayweather was making fun of Mexicans. Don’t you think Oscar would have been criticized if he came to the ring decked out in a dashiki or a pinstriped, purple suit? Maybe it was just the tequila flowing through my blood, but I was put off by Mayweather’s display and immediately drove off to the nearest casino and bet $500 on Oscar. (to offset my foolish Derby bet. Guess being well packaged doesn’t make a horse fleet a foot.)

Mayweather offended the Mexicans. He offended Oscar during the pre-fight build up. He offended his own father who had to get a ticket from de la Hoya just to see the fight.

But none of this compared to the offense that the actual fight caused.

You had Pretty Boy spending the fight (flight?) by landing one punch and then running. Sure he was scoring, but not once did it ever look like Oscar was even remotely hurt. Oscar’s post-fight face proves this with barely a mark on it.

The Golden Boy on the other hand fought like his hands were made of gold. His hands were either too valuable to actually be used to throw a punch or, because they were made of gold bricks, they were too heavy to throw. Whatever the reason, I found myself yelling, nay pleading, nay begging on my hands and knees for Oscar to throw a punch. All he was doing was stalking Mayweather. Once again, I CAN DO THAT! Heck, I HAVE done that.

(Editor’s note: the author must stay 50 feet away for a certain reference desk librarian who looks similar to, but in fact is not, Shirley Jones from the Music Man.)

Shut up editor. I was going through a rough patch then and she could have been her twin.

Anyway, between Mayweather ducking and running and Oscar channeling the ghost of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, I thought I was watching “Dancing with the Stars: Special Ed Edition.”

At the end, did it really matter who won? I feel boxing lost by having such a boring exhibition on a night when so many people were watching and hoping to see something spectacular. This was a prime moment for the sport to garner new fans and instead left them wondering if USA Network was showing a House repeat.

Okay, it did matter who won because I lost another $500. Why couldn’t one other judge be as drunk as that judge from New Jersey who scored it for Oscar?

Rumor has it his scorecard reeked of mint and tequila.