31 January 2015
I. We Are The Champions
If it weren’t for the general lack of respect that some non-New England fans have for the Patriots for various reasons, “deflate-gate” being the latest, we would be viewing the Patriots in the same light as the San Antonio Spurs, in terms of reverence for long-term excellence.
That said, tomorrow’s game has the potential to be Super, especially in terms of being a showcase of the skills of the two best cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis. It would definitely be fun to see Sherman get the Disney trip.
If Odell Beckham Jr. – he of the one-hand grab – was playing hurt all season, you almost can’t wait to see what he does with a full season and healthy.
III. All Stars
I always thought they played no “d” in the largely anti-climactic Pro Bowl…until I saw the final score in the NHL All-Star Game, 17-12. This in a league where a bunch of games are 2-1 with the shoot out.
Meanwhile, with the NBA All-Star Weekend in NYC two weeks away, we must remind ourselves that the players voted as starters by the fans are there because fans love and have loved them, not because each voter has parsed every stat this season. As a result, sometimes players get voted in on a “lifetime achievement award” basis as opposed to what they have done this season…as in the cases of Tim Duncan (who is having a solid year) and especially Kobe Bryant (whose injury prevents him from playing).
Perhaps the east coast was hit with the winter storm last weekend – and possibly yet again during or after the Super Bowl – because Santa was overwhelmed and missed a few people on his list, and wanted to have the sense of a white Christmas as he delivered. If that’s the case, he won’t need to stop by the homes of David Blatt or Steve Kerr. Their presents were not only on time, but in fact early.
Blatt, a very successful coach in Europe but a rookie coach in the NBA, happened to get to begin his NBA coaching career in Cleveland with the returning LeBron James. Kerr was gifted the already rising Golden State Warriors, who have proceeded to continue on the upward spiral begun under Mark Jackson and currently hold the league’s best record.
V. Won Them Both
Next time I bet the Republicans will watch what they sarcastically applaud at the State of the Union address after getting embarrassed by the President last week, as he reminded them that he had won these last two elections. I’m sure the European-American Unity and Rights Organization that Steve Scalise spoke to wasn’t too pleased, either.
At least Joe Wilson couldn’t say that he lied.
VI. Mr. Cub
One of the reasons that Darryl Strawberry was my favorite athlete was that my New York Mets had produced great pitchers and pitching staffs, but were so offensively challenged that the great pitching was not a guarantee of a win. And I was so jealous of the living legend sluggers that the Mets faced on a daily basis, from Dick Allen and Mike Schmidt on the Phillies, to Mays and McCovey and Cepeda on the Giants, to Aaron on the Braves, Willie Stargell on the Pirates, and seemingly the entire Reds team. So I was overjoyed that the Mets finally had a truly fearsome power hitter of their own.
Add to that list Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub. If there was ever proof that a Hall of Famer is not defined by how many rings they have won, Banks is it. Rest in peace, Mr. Cub. Let’s play two.
Banks was one of the last Negro Leaguers to be an active player in the Major Leagues, playing with the Cubs until 1971, ending his career just over one year before Jackie Robinson’s death. If you have a chance, please check out the Facebook page of my new kids book, Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues – Facebook.com/JackieNegroLeagues.