Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sports Writers Fix 7.15.09 [J. Mark English]

  • Another year, another All Star game, and another win by the American League. Their dominance is starting to get a really old. Jayson Stark of ESPN opines about the 'ridiculousness' of the A.L.'s annual drubbing of the N.L.: It's a streak that includes 12 wins and Bud Selig's favorite All-Star tie (in 2002). And we don't care how superior you may believe the American League to be at any given moment. That's still totally ridiculous.
  • STAN is the MAN (Joe Posnanski, Kansas City Star): The Man did not hit in 56 straight games. He did not hit .400. He did not hit 61 home runs in a season, and he did not hit 500 home runs in a career. Stan Musial did not play in 2,632 consecutive games, and he did not knock out 4,256 hits, and he did not hit three home runs in a World Series game. He did not say funny or clever things like “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” or “Nice guys finish last.” As far as I know, he did not have a candy bar named after him.....Then, there were a few other things Stan Musial did not do, other things that filled the mind on an emotional Tuesday night in St. Louis, All-Star night, as Musial rode in a small red car from right field while 46,000-strong applauded for him — few shrieks, few yells, just applause, like waves crashing on the beach....But no part of the night could touch that pregame scene of Musial, 88 years old now, riding in from the outfield, the St. Louis applause all around him like humidity. He held a bright white baseball. He smiled his famous smile. They say that Musial these days has good days and bad days. This, obviously, was one of the good ones.
  • STAN's TRIBUTE a DUD (Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Today): In 1994, PBS aired the documentary "Baseball," by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns. It was a terrific piece of work, but in St. Louis we remembered it for a regrettable reason: Stan Musial was largely overlooked....When the All-Star Game came to St. Louis in the summer of 2009, we thought all of that would change for Musial. Finally, he'd have the kind of showcase that would reopen the vault and display his collection of 3,630 hits, 475 homers, 1,951 RBIs, three MVPs, seven batting titles and 24 All-Star Games. And then it would be impossible for any baseball fan, young or old, to ignore the magnitude of his career....Except that it didn't happen, at least not the way it should have. Tuesday night, Busch Stadium was filled to capacity with 46,760 fans who couldn't wait to embrace The Man, and his moment. If you were there, you were probably ready to cry, to let it all out, to share a deeply sentimental experience with other Cardinals fans. You were probably hoping for a memory that would last a lifetime. Something truly special....Sadly, the moment fell flat. Musial was brought out in a golf cart, and it transported him slowly along the dirt path leading from the wagon gate in right field, past the first-base (National League) dugout, and toward home plate.
  • Guess who's back? Greg Norman, and just in time for the British Open. Could he possibly compete for his first Majors victory? Greg Stoda of reveals the latest: The unmistakable and giant-sized ego, so much a part of what makes Greg Norman who and what he is, has come bubbling to the surface once more....It's a terrific thing, in fact, as the British Open dawns Thursday on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, where Norman, in another life, won the Claret Jug in 1986. It was his first major championship victory, and was assumed to be a harbinger of many more. Norman instead won exactly one more of the biggies (the 1993 British Open), and the litany of his own failures - and majors stolen from him - has been well-documented.
  • Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times breaks down possible tough times ahead for the NBA: Commissioner David Stern said Tuesday that less than half the N.B.A.’s teams turned a profit last season and that some owners had argued that a worst-case decrease in the salary cap of 5 percent might be too optimistic....The league’s board of governors convened here and will meet again Aug. 4 with the players union in hopes of jump-starting negotiations toward reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The current one expires in June 2011....Last week, the league predicted that its salary cap could drop to between $50.4 million and $53.6 million in 2010-11, which would represent a loss between 2.5 percent and 5 percent in basketball-related revenue. On Tuesday, Stern added that teams could face at least a 10 percent drop in ticket revenue next season.
  • Has Lebron James image waned recently? Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald states bodly, yes!: Please, let this be an act of brilliant, on-the-spot viral advertisement (or nonadvertisement) by Nike....It's the only way LeBron James can come out of this hidden-video fiasco without looking like the most childish, egomaniacal, embarrassingly self-absorbed superstar athlete ever....It's disturbing enough that it can shift the public opinion of an athlete seemingly on the verge of solely dominating the sports landscape. If the decision was strictly made to avoid any public embarrassment, an embarrassment that would have been mild and lasted about two seconds -- the equivalent of tripping over your feet while walking down the street and looking around to notice who saw it happen -- then James would be viewed as one of the most misguided athletes of our time. He would be the guy who tries too hard to be liked. The guy whose image is more important than his accomplishments. The guy whose own teammates would mock him behind his back and would be a lot more fun to defeat than to run with.

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