Back from the dead, it’s the midweek pulse check (please mind the dust and dank smell). As always, this 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 ESPN.com’s homepage, the top stories of the day…
Lakers make statement, rout Rockets by 40. I didn’t get to see any of this game because I was bumbling my way through another trivia night at a local drinking establishment, but one had to think it was a matter of time before the loss of Yao Ming really hurt the Rockets. The TV people like to throw in the loss of Tracy McGrady too, but we all know the rest of the Rockets hate him and actually play better without him. And I’m sure it warms the other Rockets’ hearts, as it does mine, that another year has passed and McGrady has never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. A more overrated basketball player I cannot recall.
Report: USC’s Floyd paid $1K to Mayo handler. Whoops. If this turns out to be true, two things will happen. One, nothing will happen to USC (see: Bush, Reggie). And two, Tim Floyd will have plenty of time to play golf with his buddy, the Clarion-Ledger’s own Rick Cleveland. Actually, three things will happen. The third being Cleveland will write at least two columns before next basketball season that say some school should take a chance on Floyd.
While we’re on the subject of recruiting violations, can someone out there with writing talent and a knack for investigation please write the definitive book on the seedy worlds of college football and basketball recruiting? In order to get some of the stories, they’d have to agree to change the names of the people and schools involved, but I’d be fine with that. I just want to hear all the completely outrageous demands of recruits and the meeting of said demands by coaches. Would you refuse to read a 900-page book about money, cars, houses and private “entertainment” parties? Seriously, it’s 2009. Why hasn’t this book happened yet?
Ducks halt Wings in feisty Game 6 to force 7. Hey, look. The NHL playoffs have started. Games can be found only on the Versus Network, which is sandwiched between Home Shopping Network 2 and that channel that plays a P90X infomercial on a constant loop.
Clemens bashes new book, denies drug use. Apparently, Clemens went on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike to defend himself against a book that says he used steroids and whatever else he pumped into his body. Only Roger Clemens would be dumb enough to create another potential shit storm for himself. His time in the national spotlight had passed and here he goes stirring everything up again. Luckily, no one really cared this time because now we all know that EVERYONE CHEATED.
Rallying B’s knot series with Hurricanes at 3. If you can correctly name the city in which either of these teams play, Gary Bettman would like a written statement from you so that he might use it in his defense that he has not destroyed the NHL. “See, John from Midland, Texas knows the Bruins are in Boston! I know what I’m doing! Ask Little Rock if they’re still interested in a team!”
Howard laments lack of touches in Magic loss. However, he did not mention any lament for a lack of shooting ability.
Dibs at QB: McCown says Buccaneers job is his. Luke McCown held off an impressive field of Byron Leftwich, Brian Griese’s corpse (although it seems he was never really considered for the job), first-round pick Josh Freeman, who is still at Kansas State finishing school (boo education!), and 2008 fifth-round pick Josh Johnson. And you should probably know that McCown attempted one pass last year, which was incomplete. Shaun King, if you just read that paragraph, you might want to consider placing a phone call to Bucs headquarters.
Varitek, BoSox edge Angels. The time is coming when I will dislike the Red Sox as much as I do the Yankees. We’re not there yet, but if I have to pick a year, I’ll say in 2012 the Red Sox will pull even with the Yankees.
Renault joins Ferrari, threatens to bolt from F1. I don’t even know what this means.
Insider: Why Shaq was right about the Magic. This is the kind of story I want to pay $3.33 a month to read.
Pulse Verdict: Sort of like the peasant in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who’s dying, but not quite dead yet. And maybe it’s even feeling a little better.