Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Looking for a Midweek Pulse

After a one-week break, the midweek gimmick makes its triumphant return to the blog. I, for one, am celebrating because its return meant I had one less creative idea over which I could labor. Well, not really labor over, more like I didn’t have to think of a blog post today during the 10 minutes I was in the shower. One thing that I can always assure you of is less than 100% effort around here.

Again, this gimmick is not a knock on ESPN, but a look at the top stories in a sporting world without football. And at the end, I determine if there is life in the world of sports at the midway point of this week. Sorry if you’ve never read and thought this was going to be something really cool. You’ll get used to the disappointment.

Calipari ‘humbled, excited’ to arrive at Kentucky. Living in Memphis, I was able to experience first hand the insanity of yesterday’s “Calipari Watch.” One of the local news stations set up a camera at the back door of the Memphis basketball offices and one outside the gate of Calipari’s home, both of which provided live video on the station’s website. What exciting footage were viewers treated to? Literally footage of a door and a gate with the occasional person wandering into the picture, unaware that their crotch scratching, nose picking and general dumb looks were being broadcast to unproductive office workers across the city.

Seriously, there were hours of footage of a door and a gate. And even more amazingly, the door actually has its own Facebook group now (Too bad for the gate though, but if it weren’t so damn pretentious it might have gotten its own group too). Those were just a small taste of the insanity surrounding the potential loss of a coach who managed to coach a team out of a victory when it led by nine with two minutes left in last year’s national championship game.

Residents were also treated to a helicopter hovering over Calipari’s house, a police blockade of his street and a group of about 40 losers who had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon than to stand outside his house with signs that begged him to stay (Small aside: Anyone over the age of 12 should never be permitted to make a sign. EVER. Actually, I take that back. If the sign is full of well-crafted mockery and/or spite, then I think it’s acceptable. Otherwise, NEVER. Signs alert the rest of the world that you’re either an idiot or predicting the end of the world, which are often the same thing).

Anyway, as for Calipari heading to Kentucky, it should be interesting to see him operate in what is considered part of college basketball’s establishment. Will some of the schmucky things he does and says translate well to Kentucky fans, who believe there’s no excuse for Kentucky not winning every single game they play (since basketball was invented in Kentucky, you know)? What Calipari did at Memphis, while often in the foggily gray area, worked, and if he can keep the same formula (and keep the NCAA away), I think you’ll see Kentucky back to the obnoxious levels they achieved under Pitino (minus closing out important games).

Yanks’ Chamberlain pleads guilty to DUI charge. Ah, life in Nebraska. Corn whiskey and grain.

Broncos decide to try to trade Cutler. It’s the story that won’t die. In fact, it’s the early leader for the 2009 winner of the Elian Gonzalez Award, which is handed out by me each year to the one story that drags out so painfully that I want to headbutt my TV or computer every time I see or hear about it. Again, this entire story is over Jay Cutler, who has a career record of 17-20, a career quarterback rating of 87.1, has never been to a playoff game and never even went to a bowl game in college. If there is such a thing as sports justice, Cutler will spend the next 10 years in Detroit.

Just for a refresher, here’s a list of career winning percentages among active quarterbacks that are close to Jay Culter’s:

Jay Cutler .459
Marc Bulger .460
Charlie Batch .440
Jason Campbell .444
Derek Anderson .481
Kyle Boller .476

Rivers: Celtics to shut down injured Garnett. Since the playoffs are just a couple of weeks away, it’s time to introduce my idea for changing the NBA playoffs and regular season. First, the season has to get shorter. 82 games from November to April can’t keep people’s attention at a high degree. Knock it down to 60-ish and get cranking in late December. This will keep players fresher and ideally make them stronger at the end of the season and in the playoffs, plus not bore America for six months.

And second, the playoff format needs to change. These marathon seven game series that last two weeks need to stop, especially the not playing in back-to-back nights even though the next game is in the same place as the previous game was. That’s just stupid. Because Americans are getting dumber by the minute, their attention spans are also shrinking. We want things now and even then it’s late. Shaking up the playoff format to match this growing age of “I need it now” would add an excitement along the lines of the NCAA Tournament.

I would like to see a format where every team makes the playoffs and is ranked based on record from 1 to 32 (or you could rank them 1 to 16 in each conference and do my format that way). Then, the World Cup format takes over. Teams would be grouped into eight pools of four with each pool having one of the top eight teams in the league. The remaining 24 teams would be divided into groups of eight (based on record) and the worst team in each of those groups would be in Pool A with the #1 team and so on down the line.

For example, Pool A would consist of the #1, #16 (worst of the second group of eight), #24 (worst of the third group) and #32 (worst of the last group). Pool B would have the #2, #15, #23 and #31 teams. Each pool would have round-robin play and the top two teams from each pool advance to a single-elimination round of 16. Bam. Now you have something compelling and rich. Much like the NCAA Tournament, I think you’d find people who don’t care about basketball tuning in to watch. If this ever happens, I demand full credit for changing the NBA.

Undefeated UConn into Final Four. I assume this is about women’s basketball. If ESPN listened to me, none of you would be subjected to this nonsense. And if you wanted to find out about women’s hoops, it could be found on the new ESPNWomen page (Damnit, ESPN, make this happen!).

Anderson gets new 7-year deal, stays at Mizzou. This news created a rare, perhaps unprecedented triple whammy for a single team. Last week, Memphis lost to Missouri, then yesterday lost their coach, and then one of the favorites to replace Calipari locks into Mizzou for the next seven years. Actually, this could be a quadruple whammy if you consider the highly touted recruiting class that was coming to Memphis next year is no longer coming. Good times indeed in the Bluff City (What a poor nickname for a city. Or maybe nothing can match the power of my hometown, Jackson, MS, which gave us “The Bold New City.”).

LeBron, Cavs evade Pistons for 13th straight. Is “evade” the right word here? Doesn’t that imply the Cavs were running from or trying to duck the Pistons? I guess technically the Pistons are chasing the Cavs in the Eastern Conference standings, but perhaps “hold off”, “defeat”, “edge” or “finish off” would have worked better.

Yeah, I know. This is what happens when I have nothing left to say about the NBA.

McCain supporting pardon for Jack Johnson. I’m sure there’s a Rick Reilly-esque joke here involving the singer Jack Johnson or maybe something about McCain being alive to actually see Jack Johnson the boxer fight, but it escapes me at the moment.

Anyway, John McCain, like any good politician, is attaching himself to a winning public relations story that he can use whenever he’s up for election again. 2012, anyone? Or maybe just when he’s up for re-election in the Senate (it could be the same year, but I did absolutely no research to find out).

I’m not sure of the need for a pardon of someone who died 63 years ago and actually only spent one year in jail, but I suppose bringing attention to guys who showed morons that black people could do things white people could do (and in his case better than whites) can’t be bad. And people could learn that Johnson, like all good boxers, enjoyed beating women and sleeping with as many of them as possible.

Also, it should be noted that when Johnson lost his heavyweight title in 1915, he was knocked out in the 26TH ROUND OF A SCHEDULED 45-ROUND FIGHT.

New UVa coach Bennett to get $1.7M annually. I think I can honestly say that I have not seen a part of or even a highlight of a Virginia basketball game in like three years. Maybe more. That means I’ve seen more clips of the NHL in that time than Virginia basketball. This may explain why Virginia is paying a new coach $1.3 million.

Rumors: The futures of Bosh and Iverson. ESPN and their damn Insider! However, I’ll give you a free forecast on their futures. Bosh’s won’t be in Toronto and Iverson’s won’t be in Detroit. Done and done.

PULSE VERDICT: Alive, but critical.

No comments:

Post a Comment