Of all things …
In what has to be an all-time record — even for a city wedded to defeatism while having a fling with martyrdom — members of the sporting press have pronounced the Cavaliers season as being just so over.
After one game.
• Someone tell me again about this Big Ten Network that’s supposed to be such a big deal. Tell me about it while I rake leaves and listen to the Buckeyes on radio.
• Disparaging remarks about Ohio State football are so rampant coming out of the Southeastern Conference that the Buckeyes will barely have time for actual practice for a BCS bowl appearance — what with all the required reading they’ll have posted in the locker room.
• Big day for the Irish. They get to play Navy. Go Middies! (Someone tell me again why Charlie Weis — who vacillates between being puzzled and mildly piqued, as well as overly portly — was such a great hire for Notre Dame.
To me, he looks like a Professional Tackle Football League coordinator disguised as a college coach. If ever The Domers needed an Ara II, it is now. Even Boston College, The Catholics of The East, have passed them by.)
• Another puzzler: How on earth does someone test positive for cocaine and swear they have “never taken drugs?” The Martina Hingis story is a shocker — especially her decision to retire rather than fight the accusations.
Hingis, just 27, was always fun to watch on the court, in no small part because she was petite and pretty and utterly feminine. She also had tons of finesse, plus a great backhand — but in the age of big-boned, powerful women with big strokes, Hingis’ game seemed to relegate her to being The Queen of the Quarterfinals.
• Of all the wishes I have, none are bigger than this: that neither the Los Angeles Angels nor the New York Mets — nor the Dodgers nor Cubs nor White Sox nor Red Sox — offer A-Rod a contract. If he has to play somewhere, let it be with the Washington Nationals.
A-Rod has to be biggest phony to come down the pike since the $3 bill. As if we believed for one minute that he cares for one nanosecond whether free agents Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada or Bobby Abreu stay with the Yankees. As one N.Y. sports columnist put it, the only thing A-Rod cared about these players is that they “dared to breath the same air” as him in the locker room.
• If you’ve ever wanted to watch a professional hockey game where the sound of stick on puck makes an echo in the arena, check out the Munsters, er … Monsters.
Their official name is the Lake Erie Monsters and they play in the American Hockey League. The AHL has either 30 or 74 teams. Can’t remember which.
• Every time Cavaliers coach Mike Brown says something like, “We didn’t play any defense tonight,” or “we were lackadaisical out there,” or “we didn’t hustle,” don’t you just want to scream, “BUT, MIKE, THAT PART OF THE GAME IS YOUR JOB ! “
Everyone understands shots not falling. What they can’t grasp is a team going through the motions. Even last year the Cavs mostly played as if they were bored and were merely going through the motions, waiting for the playoffs to begin. That won’t work this year. While GM Danny Ferry, who’s usually up on the balls of his feet, stayed flat-footed through the summer, the Heat, the Pistons, the Bulls and the Celtics were amping their rosters.
• The Big Two of tennis — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — may have to make way for a third entity next year. David Nalbanian has now whipped Federer in two straight tournaments, the most recent being the Paris Masters. Gone are the days of Americans and Aussies being the world-class players. The top two Americans, Andy Roddick and James Blake, are mostly just pretty boys who never seem to make it out of the semis of any big tournament.
• THE ’BURBS AND BEYOND — The bottom line for all the reconfiguring of the high school football and basketball tournaments is one we all instinctively knew: people keep moving further out, pushing the boundaries of flight.
Where once you had nice, sensible folk tending to their farmland in quiet places like Painesville and Chardon and Solon and North Ridgeville and Olmsted Falls and Vermillion and Hudson, you now have condos and split-levels and those awful three-story monstrosities with palladium windows spoiling the landscape, with SUVs and cell phones outnumbering the crickets.
Basic rule of thumb is this: The closer you are to a city’s inner ring, the more your high school enrollment is dropping, thereby knocking your Division I school down to a Division II, or a II to a III. The further out you live, the more chance you have of climbing a division. Also rising is the chance of getting hopelessly snarled in a Saturday traffic jam while attempting to get to your local hardware store, which is now relocated to a really horrid-looking mall filled with Iraqi gas guzzlers.
In a Margaret Atwood-kind of future world, we can envision a day in the not-to-distant future when the ’fraidy-cat isolationists start spending their weekends driving around Lakewood, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and the City of Cleveland just to, well … get away from the madding crowds.
• Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine, squirming in her seat watching “The English Patient,” yells out, “WOODJA DIE ALREADY! … JUST DIE…”? Well, I will see Elaine’s “English Patient” and raise her one “Into The Wild.”
I am doing this as a favor to you, gentle reader.
Although “Into The Wild” is not as long as The Crimean War, it is rampant in self-absorption, non-editing and clichéd sleight-of-hand director’s tricks. The movie’s about one of those wet-eyed, well-meaning, self-indulgent idealists who, having just graduated college, eschews the degree and goes off into, um … the wild … to “find himself.”
The kid eventually dies, alone and cold in Alaska, seeing dreams no one else can see. The end took wa-a-a-ay too long in coming. Memo to Sean Penn: I love you like a brother, Kid, but stay on the other side of the camera, woodja? Just act. Do NOT direct.
Remember; if you do NOT see this movie because of this review, you owe me one. Big-time.
• Every game in which Derek Anderson impersonates a true NFL quarterback is just that much better for Brady Quinn. We all know who the quarterback of the future is. But if that particular future does not arrive until next year, or even the year after or the year after that, the Browns will be just that much better off.
Would mean the Browns are winning with Anderson and that Quinn is absorbing stuff as the clipboard guy the whole time. There’s no hourglass on Quinn being the No. 1.
• If I am ever assigned to write a headline again, I want to write one on the story about a horse that runs well in the mud and how he can win the big race on what is expected to be a dry track. Headline would read: FODDER FOR DA MUDDER
Rounding third and heading for the barn ...
Contact Doug Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.