Whitt’s End: 6.22.12
Sports Fan Insider
Whether you’ve reached the end of your rope or merely the end of your week, welcome to Whitt’s End:
*Welcome to Sports Purgatory, otherwise known as the bland, boring chasm of summer after the NBA Finals and before the start of NFL training camp. Wimbledon helps. Fourth of July fireworks and a couple trips to the lake provide decent diversions. But otherwise, prepare to yawn. For the record, 37 days until Jerry Jones opens Cowboys’ camp with his state-of-the-union press conference in Oxnard, California.
*Give LeBron James credit. He’s always had the physical ability. But during these playoffs he figured out the mental part. He learned that if he drives aggressively to the basket and makes his free throws, he’s unstoppable. In The Finals LeBron made 82 percent of his free throws (38 of 46). And LeBron driving in the paint is as devastating as Michael Jordan’s jumper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook, Shaquille O’Neal at the rim, Dirk Nowitzki’s Flamingo Fadeaway and Allen Iverson’s crossover.
*Scott Feldman bitching? Really? The Rangers’ pitcher gets seven starts and goes 1-6 with an ERA of 6.00. He’s lucky he still has a job. First Ranger to utter “I’m not happy” since Michael Young in the winter of 2010.
*Watching LeBron hoist the Finals MVP trophy wasn’t as painful as I imagined. Around these parts I figure it’s along the lines of seeing ultimate success for villains like C.J. Wilson, Michael Vick, Alex Rodriguez and maybe even Cliff Lee?
*After being unceremoniously serenaded off the court by the “Good game. Good effort” kid after their Game 5 home loss to the Boston Celtics, the Heat went 6-1.
*As if we need reminding not to trust Turkish newspapers, we read on the Internet this week that Mavs owner Mark Cuban had his 228-foot yacht – “Fountainhead” – in a port over in Greece. Dang that’s a big boat. But turns out, it ain’t his. I emailed Cuban to get some details and, sure enough … “I hate yachts. I don’t own a yacht and never will.”
*Now that LeBron has his, who’s next on sports’ list of “best active player not to have a ring”? In golf we’ve given up on Sergio Garcia and now it’s Lee Westwood, not long ago ranked No. 1 in the world but still without a major. In tennis it’s Andy Murray, consistently in Grand Slam semifinals but unable to beat Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. In NASCAR it’s Danica Patrick, though we’re still not that convinced that she’s a good driver. In the NBA it’s Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and, yep, Kevin Durant. In baseball isn’t it Ichiro and/or Josh Hamilton, who’s won an MVP and sniffed two World Series without a ring? And in the NFL it’s – sure enough – Tony Romo. The quarterback of America’s Team has put up the gaudy stats. He’s been to the Pro Bowl. He’s won a playoff game. He’s had momentous flops in the post-season. He’s ready. At least he should be. And if not Romo, isn’t the label fitting for teammate DeMarcus Ware?
*Roy Oswalt makes his debut for the Rangers tonight. The horrible Rockies are the perfect opponent. Familiar to Oswalt, who pitched last year for the NL Phillies. Plus, and more importantly, they’re horrible.
*Former Cowboy Ryan Leaf avoided jail time despite stealing prescription drugs while Alonzo Spellman was released from jail this week. Got me to thinking about all the dramatic falls from grace by former Cowboys. Wow. Rafael Septien. Lance Rentzel. Bob Hayes. Harvey Martin. Eugene Lockhart. Dwayne Goodrich. Sam Hurd. Michael Irvin. Nate Newton. Golden Richards. Mark Tuinei. Reminder that even though our heroes have always been Cowboys, they too can be fragile, flawed humans.
*For what it’s worth, the best players to never win a ring: Karl Malone, Barry Bonds and Dan Marino.
*Who you believing in the NFL vs. the Bounty Boys? The league says it was Anthony Hargrove who yelled “Pay me my money!” on the sideline during the ’09 NFC Championship Game against the Vikings after quarterback Brett Favre was knocked out of the game. Hargrove and Earl Heyman – a teammate who was next to him on the bench at the time – adamantly claim it wasn’t him. And defensive assistant Joe Vitt is offering to sign affidavits and take lie detector tests in denial of the accusations against him. The NFL does, remember, have lots of motivation for fabricating some facts. In its defense of the thousands of concussion-related lawsuits headed their way, they can point to shutting down the Saints’ bounty program as evidence. And to shut down the program, they first have to attempt to prove there was indeed a program.
*During Spring Training Yu Darvish’s odds to win the 2012 AL Cy Young were 25/1. Now, after his 9-4 start, he’s 6/1. Former Rangers’ knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who once gave up 6 homers in a game at The Ballpark, started at 500/1 and is now the NL favorite at 3/2 after his amazing start with the Mets.
*Thinking the Heat might choke Thursday night I summoned Failure Jesus upon LeBron. But, I’ll admit, he was great from the start. And when Miami gets 7 3-pointers out of nowhere from Mike Miller, well, they’re unbeatable. Game 5 felt like the Mavs’ closeout game against the Lakers last spring when they hit 20 3-pointers. Just one of those nights when everything goes in. Dangit.
*In the last 6 months I’ve started snoring like a bear. I guess that happens when you’re careening toward 50?
*If boxing conducts a review of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight and 5 independent judges determine that, yep, Manny won easily, that’s newsy. Unless, the World Boxing Organization is powerless to overturn the decision. What a waste of time. Typical boxing. It amounted to nothing more than “Yeah, us too!” grandstanding.
*I have a creepy feeling that the Heat may just be getting started winning trophies. Keep the DVD of the 2011 NBA Finals handy, just to cherish the time when the Mavs made them look mortal.
*”It’s going to hit 100 Sunday!” scream the local headlines. Why? It’s late June in North Texas. It’d be news if it didn’t hit 100.
*Is it just me or does the Charlotte Bobcats’ new logo and uniforms look a little too much like our Mavs’ gear?
*In case you missed it and want to see how truly dorky RAGE is, our TV commercial is right here.
*Two sets of fans happy last night: Miami. Seattle.
*My radio buddy Greggo doesn’t offer many “nut bets,” but when he does they almost always hit. His latest? College football’s 2014 National Championship Game – the first in a playoff format – will be played at Cowboys Stadium. Book it. For what it’s worth, oddsmakers’ favorites for the 2012 title are Southern Cal, LSU and Alabama. OU is 10/1, Texas 28/1, TCU 50/1 and Texas A&M 100/1.
*Had to fact-check in 3 different places but, sure enough, Abe Elam started 16 games at safety for the Cowboys last season. Opponents threw 545 passes vs. Dallas. Number of passes Elam intercepted, defensed, deflected or accidentally got in the way of: 0. How is that even possible?
*Hollywood producers are planning to make a movie about Josh Hamilton’s life. No word yet on who’s gonna play Josh, but it’s gotta be Charlie Sheen right?
*In retrospect, the NBA Finals turned dramatically, and eternally, on the non-call on LeBron when he hooked Durant on a game-tying shot attempt in the final seconds of Game 2.
*10 days until NBA free agency opens and the Mavs can officially begin recruiting Deron Williams. Not that it’s the final piece to the decision puzzle, but it can’t hurt that Williams’ in-laws – his wife Amy’s parents – still live in the Metroplex. Mrs. Williams’ father, in fact, is the pastor at a Carrollton church. Just sayin’.
*NBA Draft is next Thursday. At No. 17, Mavs need a player. An impact player who can help next season. Not a project. Not a Euro who might be great in 2 years. Not a Roddy B or a Dominique Jones or a Shan Foster or a Nick Fazekas or a Maurice Ager. What they need in free agency is Williams. What they need in the draft is Tyson Chandler. Fab Melo of Syracuse – the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year – will do the trick. Mavs worked him out at the AAC yesterday.
*You know how I love to hate TV commercials. But I still get a kick out of “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” The latest beauty is him Running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain … toward the bulls. Bravo.
*Before you start knee-jerk comparing LeBron favorably to Jordan, remember this: In his first 9 seasons His Airness won 3 rings and 7 scoring titles. In his first 9 LeBron has just 1 each.
*I’ve got a very cool birthday present I’m giving to myself next month (stay tuned) but I’m sorta out of ideas for a vacation. Only two places I haven’t been on my bucket list are Australia and the Grand Canyon. Down Under isn’t practical for one week off and I fear it’s 130 degrees in the Canyon during the summer. Suggestions?
*This weekend? We’re out at Papa G’s in Watauga this afternoon 2-7. Saturday is a busy one stuffed with a wedding, a housewarming and Baby Dolls Dallas for UFC 147 at 9 p.m. Sunday feels like a good day for R&R by the pool. Don’t be a stranger.
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