Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. April is buzzing by and May will be here before we know it. I as I sit pondering my blog, I realize that this is a great time of year for sports fans. Hockey and basketball are winding down and the MLB season begins to reveal glimpses of the summer ahead.
As kids, we grow up learning to play the games we love. I don't know about hockey, but with baseball, football and basketball...I would watch the games then try to repeat what I saw. Over time, I began to understand the nuances of each game which gives us what I call a sports IQ. When I was coaching, if I said that a player had a high baseball IQ, it meant that they were more than a good player. Kids with a high sports IQ bring an intuition to the sport that other players simply do not have. In a brief discussion with Beeze and Sully regarding hockey, I got to thinking... The NHL is trying to remove hits to the head from the game. This is obviously good for the long term benefit of the players, right? As we have seen with the NFL, rules changes designed to improve the safety for players, often leaves fans lamenting the good old days. If hockey is determined to eliminate hits to the head, why not ban fighting? As I watch hockey fights, it is clear that fighting on skates is limited to punching to the head. I know that there will be howls of disagreement, but think about the sports that you grew up with. Are they as they were when you grew up? Exactly. Football has been reduced to a physical version of touch football. The NBA is determined to eliminate fighting by creating extremely harsh rules and punishment for fighting. Is hockey next?
An old boss of mine had a favorite saying..." you can paint a leopard, but the spots are still there". In other words, people rarely change. Ron Artest has gone to great length to change his reputation. But changing your name does not change who you are. Do you remember the event above? Although Artest tried to make a joke of this by singing he was sorry...who pulls down an opponents shorts? Should we really be surprised that Artest threw the elbow? Metta World Peace is still Ron Artest. I have seen some fans wishing Artest be suspended for the rest of the year. I suspect that a 7 game suspension is about right. But if I was the commish, I would keep him off the court until Harden was able to take the court again.
Sports has become big business. Like it or not, this is a reality today. Dwayne Wade made a comment that athletes should be paid to play for the USA Olympic team. Of course, he is not alone, but the words just do not sound right. The Olympics are supposed to be a celebration of amateur competition. This is a time to put aside personal thoughts and embrace the patriotic opportunity of playing for your country. This is what I have always believed. I read an article this week that detailed thoughts of Mark Cuban regarding NBA players in the Olympics. He called the practice by the NBA of lending players, "the biggest mistake that the NBA makes'. Here are Cuban's exact words:
“If you look up stupid in the dictionary, you see a picture of the USA Dream Team playing for free for corporate America so the U.S. Olympic Committee can make millions of dollars. If you come up with something that you own, that you give it to me for free so I can make billions of dollars, I want it.
“And it has nothing to do with patriotism. It’s all about money. You don’t see the Olympic Committee saying, ‘Oh we made so much money. Let’s give it to people.”’
Cuban has a good point. I have to admit that I have never considered that the Olympic Committee made millions of dollars. As an NBA owner, why should Cuban and others be forced to "lend" their players to the Olympics, without compensation? Truthfully, I just don't have it in me to feel sorry for millionaire players or billionaire owners. Why not go back to stocking Team USA with players eager to play? Of course, what about those foreign players playing for their country? Should the NBA be able to prevent its players from participating in the Olympics? In fact, why would the NBA allow the players to participate in the games unless they got something out of it? In truth, it is the exposure that the players bring back to the league that makes this deal work. Cuban may not want to admit it, but a rising tide lifts all boats...or yachts as the case may be. The original dream team captivated the youth of Barcelona and gave basketball an entire new audience. Of course, if the league has more money, then the players get paid more...sort of takes the "sting" out of playing for free...
After 21 years, Pudge Rodriguez called it a career on Monday. I have to say that Pudge was a favorite player of mine. It was obvious that he loved the game. How else could you catch more than 2100 games if you did not love it? Do you think he will be in the HOF? 2844 hits is just shy of 3000, but damn good for a catcher. Pudge would be in my top 3 of defensive catchers. Certainly good enough for the hall, but who knows?
I loved the way that Pudge threw out the first pitch on Monday. Here is the video:
Congrats on a great career, Pudge!
This is a triple bypass burger served in Las Vegas...a woman had a heart attack this week eating one of these burgers. Why do I think that is funny? At least they are truthful...
What's up with the Royals? With all of the young talent, this was supposed to be the year that they began to make waves...check out the fan in the background and the empty seats. Losing 12 in a row, is not a good thing. How long before the managers seats becomes too hot to stay?
That is all I have today, but here is a bit of Jack Handey to take with you:
"People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening."
"How come, just as the rocket is launching, the astronauts don't also shoot some fireworks out the window? It would make the whole takeoff look more impressive."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...