Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Looking for a Midweek Pulse

If you’re not a regular reader, this gimmick is not a knock on ESPN, but a look at the top stories of today 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. So from’s homepage, the top stories of the day…

De La Hoya retires. Boxing is still a sport? Seriously, when was the last time you watched a fight (of the professional variety, not two backwards-hat-wearing, drunken morons swinging wildly at each other over “disrespect.”)? Or better yet, even heard about a fight? Is Gary Bettman secretly running boxing? Can I write an entire paragraph of nothing but questions? Can I? Really?

When boxing shows up on Versus, I think we’ll know the answer to the Gary Bettman question. And speaking of fights, Spencer’s fight with his sister’s old boyfriend on The Hills has to go down as one of the best moments in the show’s history (of course, it’s pretty easy to beat out 1,000 different scenes in a club that are all really the same scene, but of the 10 or so most compelling scenes in the show’s history, this is tops). Spencer threw out the triumvirate of poser language (“homey”, “dog”, and “disrespect”) right before he sucker punched the other guy in the chin while he was looking away.

You really need to check it out if you missed it. And the unintentional comedy takes a significant jump when all the white kids in designer t-shirts who are trying to break it up keep saying, “Yo, yo, yo. Break it up.” One other thing I noticed was that there were either no bouncers in this bar or they just didn’t care about the fight. Every bar I’ve ever been in has bouncers that worship Road House and pray that a fight happens so they can practice their Dalton-esque moves on drunk guys. Los Angeles must be a weird place.

Beckett banned 6 games. Our first fracas of the young baseball season also results in our first suspensions of the season. But doesn’t the word “banned” make you think this was for steroids? You usually see the word “suspended” when it comes to fights. Although when someone gets tests positive for steroids, they’re usually “suspended” for however many games. What’s that? Yes, you are correct, I am splitting hairs over something stupid. But have you seen the rest of these stories? I just spent two paragraphs talking about The Hills, so it can only get worse.

Cowboys get 6 national ’09 games. Were you aware that ESPN spent two hours last night, that’s HOURS, dissecting and discussing the 2009 NFL schedule? Two hours talking about games that are between five and eight months away. What can you even say about a game that far away? “I’ll tell you a game I like guys, New England and New Orleans. That should be an exciting, fast-paced shootout. Drew Brees. Tom Brady. It’s gonna be great. I can’t wait for football!”

When you don’t even know final rosters, what the game will mean at that point in the season and who is even healthy enough to play in the game, it’s idiotic to discuss the game further than saying, “Hey, the Saints and Patriots play this year. Cool.” I can’t imagine spending two hours watching ESPN’s NFL crew offer their opinions as to why the Texans/Colts game in November will be the best game of the month (or watching those guys in general for two hours).

DL candidate: Card’s Carpenter hurts rib cage. Still waiting for the best baseball injury of the year. My two all-time favorite injuries are Sammy Sosa straining his back from a bout of violent sneezing, and Richie Sexton straining his neck when he tried to put on a hat that was too small during team photo day at Brewers spring training.

Glavine: Retirement on radar. Glavine’s surgically repaired shoulder and elbow have become inflamed and require rest and treatment if he wants to continue pitching. Glavine said he’s tired of the rehab process and if his arm doesn’t improve within a couple of week, he’ll retire. You know why else he should retire? He’s 43.

As a Braves fan, the last way I want to remember Tom Glavine is watching him go out every five days, pitch five innings (if he’s lucky) and finish with a 4-11 record and a 5.32 ERA. Go out with some dignity. You gave it one last shot last year and it didn’t work out because YOU WERE 42. Besides, it would be much more exciting to see Jo-Jo Reyes go out there every five days, pitch seven fantastic innings, and pitch the eighth one like he’s never picked up a baseball before.

Kings co-owner blasts Martin for ‘thuggery.’ Co-owner Joe Maloof, probably from the hot tub of one of his casino suites, demanded that Kenyon Martin apologize for his flagrant foul on the Kings’ Spencer Hawes. Hawes was forced to leave the game and an MRI revealed he had a strained knee. Meanwhile, the Nuggets demanded an apology from Martin for being paid over $14 million this year while averaging 11.7 points and six rebounds a game.

Injured Derby challenger Old Fashioned retired. Not since Barbaro’s near-death, recovery, near-death, slight recovery, closer-to-death, much-closer-to-death, slight recovery, and eventual death that gripped the country for like two months has a horse racing story appeared on ESPN’s homepage. Let’s hope it’s another two years before we have another one.

F1 officials: Brawn can keep rear diffuser, wins. Sweet, merciful crap. Formula One is a top story. But you know what was a top story yesterday? Isiah Thomas will be paid to be in charge of a Division I basketball program. Florida International gave the world one of the all-time greatest “What the hell, why not?” hires when they named Thomas their new head coach yesterday.

Thomas, who isn’t qualified to run his own life (see: attempted suicide and claiming it was his teenage daughter who tried to kill herself), will now be in charge of not only a basketball program, but also molding the minds of 18 to 22 year-olds, which is going to go well to quite well. Let’s review some of Zeke’s post-NBA playing career highlights:

-Bought the CBA and in two years bankrupted the league.
-Took over the Pacers. who were one year removed from the NBA finals with most of their core young players still in tact. and went 131-115 in three years. And he lost in the first round of the playoffs each year.
-Took over as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations and single-handedly destroyed the team by sending it to salary cap hell until 2056 with an array of stupid signings and even worse trades.
-Took over as Knicks’ head coach and in two years put together a 56-108 record.
-Was responsible for Madison Square Garden paying a female employee $11.6 million in a sexual harassment judgment. Thomas said at trial it was okay for co-workers to hug and kiss one another.

So, the only real question is how soon will Florida International be on probation? Do you think for one second Isiah Thomas is going to read or even know a single NCAA recruiting rule? I wouldn’t be surprised if he disguises old Knicks’ castoffs as junior college recruits and attempts to have them play at FIU. But when he gets fired (or disappears into the Everglades), it will be his daughter’s fault.

Paulus works out for Packers, stops by Michigan. Amazingly, it’s not former Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus, but former Duke Blue Devils’ backup point guard Greg Paulus. I’m pretty sure this story is made up. I think Green Bay was having media withdrawals after last summer’s Favre fiasco and decided to create some news. Is there any other good reason?

Paulus last played football when he was a quarterback in high school, which coincidentally was the last time he really played basketball. However absurd this is, if you’re backup quarterbacks Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn, I think you should have a pretty good understanding of the Packers’ opinion of your quarterbacking skills.

Rumors: The next home of Pedro Martinez. Since I don’t have Insider, I’ll take a shot at this one. The next home of Pedro Martinez is either in the Dominican Republic as chairman of a cockfighting league or with the Nationals for three weeks until he realizes he’s 38 and can’t break 84 on the radar gun.


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