HE’S BAD, HE’S NATIONWIDE
I was shocked that ESPN actually interrupted all their incessant Bracket-ology folderol and obsessing over Manny Ramirez on "SportsCenter" to recognize that a major sports record was broken last night. Congrats to New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur for breaking the all-time NHL record for career victories (552), surpassing Patrick Roy with a 3-2 win over Chicago. This guy doesn’t get near enough recognition (even though he plays in the New York area) for what he does—he’s as dependable as the day is long in goal, he doesn’t whine and complain about anything, he doesn’t do steroids or get DUIs or beat on his wife or shit like that, he’s won three Stanley Cups (and is working on a fourth one now), and has played his entire career with the same team, no less. He’s only four shutouts away from breaking the late Terry Sawchuk’s all-time record, too, and what’s even scarier is Brodeur still has plenty of gas left in the tank, thus (barring injury), he might well win 700 games before he’s done.
Here’s my fearless Final Four prognostication: Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh and Arizona St., with Memphis winning the whole shooting match. There’s really no clear-cut dominant team in the field this year, and since Memphis came so close last year against Kansas, I have a good feeling about them this time. I envision quite a few upsets in the first couple rounds this year (watch out for Cleveland State, Stephen F. Austin and Western Kentucky!), and I have Kansas falling to Boston College in round three because KU just can’t handle schools that start with ‘B’ (Bucknell, Bradley, Baylor, etc.). My Mizzou Tigers will also fall in the third round to the other Tigers of Memphis. Then again, for about the fifth straight year, I incorrectly predicted the winner of the "play-in" game (thanks a lot, Morehead State!), so take my picks with a grain of salt. Hey, at least I’m consistent…
And won’t it be simply grand to not have to listen to Billy Packer calling the games on CBS this year? Between that and Dickey-Dick-Brain Vitale being relegated to NIT duty on ESPN, it’s gonna be awesome, bay-bee!
GAME, SET AND MATCH, MR. STEWART
I absolutely loved watching CNBC’s financial "expert" Jim Cramer squeal like an eel and squirm like a worm (as Louie DePalma would say) on Jon Stewart’s "Daily Show" last week on Comedy Central. Stewart made Cramer look like some miscreant school kid sitting in the principal’s office as he reamed Jimbo like Roto-Rooter for all the crackpot B.S. he’s been dishing out during the recession (and even prior to it). A gold star to Mr. Stewart for putting this doofus in his place—you have done well, young grasshopper. Here’s the whole unedited video, in case you missed it. Then again, anyone ignorant enough to listen to this Cramer boob is every bit as culpable as he is for losing their hard-earned money. His "Mad Money" show looks like something MTV would produce anyway—I’d sooner seek financial advice from one of the Teletubbies…
THE FIRST DOMINO TO FALL…
Sad to hear that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has ceased being a print newspaper and is now totally an on-line going concern as of yesterday. This will surely be the first of many such conversions by major papers in the U.S., as advertising revenues plummet and the Internet becomes more pervasive as a news source. I have mixed feelings about it all myself, because I still subscribe to the K.C. Star and enjoy reading it front-to-back every day at work, but I do tend to get more and more of my news off the Internet as time goes by. Local TV news is a joke anymore and radio is turning into a dinosaur as well, so the paper is certainly a better resource for local news, and I hate to see it go away altogether.
MATH FOR AGNOSTICS
My man Leonard Pitts, Jr. is on a roll these days, and he wrote yet another fine column this week about a new survey that showed how fewer and fewer people are religious these days. Although Pitts himself is indeed a church-goer, he did a more brilliant job than I ever could have of summing up why I’m not one with the following:
"And people of faith should ask themselves: What is the cumulative effect upon outside observers of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker living like lords on the largesse of the poor, multiplied by Jimmy Swaggart’s pornography addiction [not to mention his taste for $10 whores!—BH], plus Eric Rudolph bombing Olympians and gay people in the name of God, plus Muslims hijacking airplanes in the name of God, multiplied by the church that kicked out some members because they voted Democrat, divided by people caterwauling on courthouse steps as a rock bearing the Ten Commandments was removed, multiplied by the square root of Catholic priests preying on little boys while the church looked on and did nothing, multiplied by Muslims rioting over cartoons, plus the continuing demonization of gay men and lesbians, divided by all those "traditional values" coalitions and "family values" councils that try to bully public schools into becoming worship houses, with morning prayers and science lessons from the book of Genesis? Then subtract selflessness, service, sacrifice, holiness and hope."
He went on to say, "Who can be surprised if the sheer absurdity, fundamentalist cruelty and ungodly hypocrisy that have characterized so much "religion" in the last 30 years have driven people away?"
All I gotta say to all that is, "Amen, brother!"
LENNY THE COOL?
Local station KMBC Channel 9 made a big whoop the other night about sportscaster Len Dawson cutting back on his duties now that he’s in his ‘70s. Leonard isn’t retiring, per se, but will no longer anchor the nightly sportscasts as he’s done since he was a player back in the ‘60s, and will remain at the station to cover and analyze the Chiefs and NFL during the Fall. All of this was accompanied by a 5-minute retrospective of Len’s broadcasting career—oy! Don’t get me wrong—I loved Lenny to death as a player during the Chiefs’ glory years, and I think he does a fine job as color analyst on Chiefs radio broadcasts and he wasn’t bad on HBO’s "Inside The NFL". He’s a class act, no doubt, but I won’t miss all the mispronounced player names, pregnant pauses and mangled sports copy that rendered Dawson to be the Les Nessman of local sports anchors. There isn’t a Tele-Prompt-Er on earth with big enough letters for him to read clearly! Dawson knows football inside and out, but his knowledge of baseball and basketball is iffy at best, and hockey, NASCAR and soccer might as well be nuclear physics to him because he doesn’t have a clue about them.