Time Out for Sports Talk: Very Superstitious Writings on the Blog
Todd: A happy Friday the 13th to one and all, including all the friggatriskaidekaphobics and even Jason Voorhees. Mike and I are not afraid of posting some scattered thoughts today, and to prove it I’m actually typing these as I walk under a bunch of ladders.
Quick reply to Mike, who last week mentioned the benefit of cooking a three-minute egg versus watching the Belmont Stakes is that there’s no six-hour pregame show: I guess he’s never seen the elaborate presentation that takes place in my kitchen while preparing Sunday brunch.
Speaking of the Belmont Stakes, the first word that came to my mind after watching California Chrome fall short in his quest for the Triple Crown was ‘bummer’. Of course, that was a far cry from the words that emanated from CC’s co-owner Steve Coburn.
While Coburn made some legitimate points during his post-race rant, it came off as too much of a whine. And unfortunately not the kind that goes with Sunday brunch. In both the sports world and life in general, it’s important to remain gracious in defeat.
Bottom line with California Chrome, like all the horses that preceded him in the last three dozen years, is that he was simply not strong enough to win a mile-and-a-half race. I probably should have seen the signs when CC was fading down the stretch during his Derby and Preakness wins, but I guess I was pulling for the underdog (or should it be underhorse?) story.
A story I haven’t been pulling for, even though I picked them to three-peat, is the Miami Heat. Forget about LeBron’s cramps and other assorted bathroom breaks during the NBA Finals. I cannot imagine any of the dynastic NBA teams of the last three decades making conversation while participating in the Finals that they were interested in acquiring a free agent during the upcoming offseason, which for the Heat is coming up quickly the way they’re succumbing to Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
Miami’s ‘Big Three’ of LeBron, an aging Dwyane Wade and third-wheel-at-best Chris Bosh have shown through the first four games of the Finals that they are not talented enough to withstand San Antonio’s depth and skill. So I guess the solution is to hoard all the top picks from the 2003 NBA Draft (hold on there a moment, Darko Milicic). So much for Carmelo Anthony possibly joining the Celtics.
More than anything, I’m annoyed that the Carmelo-to-the-Heat rumors have to come up while the Heat are getting their posteriors handed to them in the NBA Finals. Back in the day, Red Auerbach or Jan Volk would have never been courting free agents while the Celtics and Lakers were battling for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
If the NBA Finals seem a bit anticlimactic, the Stanley Cup Finals aren’t far behind. The first two games in LA were exciting overtime thrillers. But even with the Rangers keeping their season alive in Game 4, I don’t get the feeling this is the start of an incredible NY comeback. The Kings have generally proven to be the better team and will close out this series sooner rather than later. I also don’t think the Bruins would have beaten LA even if they had made it this far and had a healthy Dennis Seidenberg.
Last (and certainly least at the moment), the Red Sox. So they opened their latest home stand with a win against the Cleveland Indians. But their last road trip was a David Ortiz home run and a Mike Napoli RBI single from being an epic 0-9 disaster. As it was, the three games in Baltimore earlier this week set a low the Sox have not sunk to in over twenty years.
Mike and I have both been to games at Camden Yards—the place is a hitter’s paradise, especially when the Maryland humidity starts to rise during the summer months—and the Sox have always hit well there, even if they’ve struggled to win there the last few years. But one run in three games? Really?? This team led the American League last year, scoring well over five runs a game. This year they are twelfth in the AL in scoring (less than four runs per game). The last time the Sox’ offense was this putrid was when Butch Hobson managed…to eventually get himself fired.
If you need any more evidence that the Sox are (in the words of Joe Namath) STRUH-GUH-LING, how about that as of this Friday the 13th, the Houston Astros (a franchise that lost 111 games last year, in case you forgot) currently have a record that is percentage points better than the defending World Champs? Hmm, I wonder if there’s a clowder of black cats circling Fenway today?
Hard right now to think that the hometown team’s chances of getting red-hot is anything but…oh, bleak. Sorry Stephen Drew, I wasn’t talking to you. But it would help justify your signing if you could out get on the field sometime soon.
Mike: Well Todd, I must admit, I completely forgot to watch the Belmont Stakes this past weekend. We were out to dinner, and it just slipped my mind, so I guess that shows how broken up I am of California Chrome and his whacked-out owner.
Now onto the World Cup.
As you might remember from last week, I really don’t care that much about the World Cup, but I have heard about the controversy surrounding Brazil’s first game.
For those of you who may have missed it, Brazil’s Fred (yup, just Fred. We won’t get started on the ego required to go by just the name “Fred”) took a dive that got a penalty shot for Brazil. On a closer look, there was apparently no foul on the play, but good old Freddie went down quicker than if he had been shot all the while pleading with the referee, who bought it.
This happens all too many times in soccer, the players seem to be drama queens, and it is just another in the long list of reasons that I don’t care about soccer, and wouldn’t make an effort to watch the World Cup if it was being played in my backyard. (Though I must admit it would be a bit harder to mow my lawn if FIFA put a $200 million stadium there!)
Speaking of taking a dive, it seems apparent that the Red Sox are doing their best to make sure we won’t have a stressful baseball postseason by making sure they are out of contention early! It’s been hard to watch lately as they just continue to struggle. Hopefully they’ll pull out of it soon, but time’s running out!
As for the NBA Finals, I tried watching some of Game 4, but really couldn’t get into it. I will say I am happy to see Miami get blown out twice at home, but after that, I just hope San Antonio wraps this up quickly, I couldn’t stand the hype in Miami makes a comeback.
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