Winning & Musing…..Volume 4.11

Who would have ever believed that in midsummer the Pittsburgh Pirates would be about the only thing I wouldn’t feel negatively about??

Tiger Woods is finished. Atleast that is my opinion. Oh sure, he’ll win a few more tournaments and maybe even a couple more majors. But those majors will be of the “feel good” “one last hurrah” variety, like Jack Nicklaus’ Masters victory in 1986 at the age of 46, long after most thought he was done as a competitive golfer. I don’t think Woods will surpass or even tie Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles. Not only is Tiger’s body beginning to betray him (as it does all of us eventually), but I just don’t think it’s reasonable to believe that he can ever regain the mental toughness and dominant intimidation factor that were key elements in his decade of supremacy.

Surely no NFL team will be desperate enough to sign RB Tiki Barber, who is 36 years old, has been out of the game for 5 years, and wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity in the lockerroom. There are plenty of younger, fresher legs out there, especially for a backup role.

A melancholy farewell to Lorenzo Charles, a starting forward on the 1983 NC St. Wolfpack national champion basketball team. It was Charles who threw in the winning dunk allowing the Pack to pull off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history over the Hakeem Olajuwon/Clyde Drexler Houston Cougars, known as Phi Slamma Jamma. Charles died recently when the bus he was driving crashed. One can imagine Coach Jim Valvano frantically running around The Pearly Gates ready to give Lorenzo Charles a big ol’ hug.

I am smart enough to realize that the NFL lockout is more complex than multimillionaires arguing with billionaires, but ultimately that is how most fans look at the whole thing. As of this moment there seems to be cautious optimism that a deal will be done within a couple weeks that will allow the season to begin on time and things to proceed as usual. I sincerely hope that is the case. Make it happen NFL…players, owners, Commandant Goodell…all of you.

Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, the new NBA Champions. I didn’t really have a dog in the fight, as I have never had a favorite NBA team. However, it gave me immense pleasure to see Lebron James choke like an illiterate redneck in a spelling bee. He and his buddies thought they could put together what amounted to an All-Star team and just waltz their way to a title, but the Mavericks proved that, no matter how much the NBA tries to market individual players, basketball is still a team sport. “King” James (King of what exactly??) was exposed as an overrated superstar who is a superior athlete but not a particularly great basketball player.

FYI…the Frank McCourt that is on the verge of losing ownership of the LA Dodgers is not the same Frank McCourt that was the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Angela’s Ashes. The author died in 2009.

It’s July and my Pittsburgh Pirates are in 3rd place and only 3 games out of the top spot in their division. I am not optimistic enough to think their position will improve or even stay as good as it is, but for the first time in much more than a decade I sense real progress with this team and see a glimmer of hope that a long term nucleus is in place and bright things may be on the horizon.

Maybe Terrell Owens makes a comeback, maybe he doesn’t. I couldn’t possibly care less. Owens’ “Look at Me!!” schtick and his penchant for being a locker room cancer, throwing teammates under the bus, and being a huge headache for coaches far exceeded his talent several years ago. I wouldn’t sign him to my team with a gun to my head. But agent Drew Rosenhaus is a complete moron if he thinks anyone with a brain is going to buy the PR campaign that a 37 year old wide receiver can fully recover from reconstructive knee surgery in less than 5 months. Rosenhaus is the kind of slicked back, smooth talking slimeball that gives agents a bad reputation. Even televangelists and hookers probably feel the need to take a shower after seeing Rosenhaus on TV.

Don’t you just love former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards?? He can give me a pep talk anytime he wants.

 

Jim Tressel and the Ohio State faithful should have asked West Virginia Mountaineer fans about prima donna QB Terrelle Pryor. A few years ago, when former Mountaineer coach Rich Fraudriguez made his ignominious exit from The Mountain State to what he thought were greener pastures at Michigan (he was wrong), rumor had it that the last thing he did was call a certain QB he had been trying to recruit in order to convince him to follow the blazing trail to Ann Arbor. Even as the Mountaineer faithful were spewing hate-filled venom at the turncoat native son there were whispers that steering Pryor away from our beautiful state may be a blessing in disguise. Even at that point in time the youngster had proven himself to be a selfish diva who had completely bought into his own hype. Now, a few years later, Terrelle Pryor has left the Buckeyes early, brought shame upon the program, and cost Coach Tressel his job. I don’t believe Tressel is blameless. I think he got caught up in the machine like so many do, where the pressure to win outweighs all common sense and consumes a person’s dignity, honor, and integrity. I also realize that the issue is systemic in Columbus (as it most likely is at more big time athletic programs than we realize) and that a lot of players over several years were violating rules. But right or wrong I put most of the burden concerning the current mess squarely on the shoulders of Terrelle Pryor. If there is any justice he will never have much of a pro career and 20 years from now he’ll be making $8/hr. unloading freight at Sam’s Club at 2am. I have no sympathy or patience for ghetto punks who think the world owes them something just because they can run fast or do cool things with an inflated rubber ball.

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