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The Inside Track | Chris Dufresne SECOND THOUGHTS

These Newsmakers Didn't Live Up to Expectations

June 09, 2003|Chris Dufresne

We regret to announce Sammy Sosa and Rick Neuheisel were late scratches for this morning's chalk-talk discussion on sporting Do's and Don'ts, so we'll just move forward and reflect on things that happened in a crazy week and many things that didn't:

Roger Clemens didn't win his 300th game.

New York Yankee Manager Joe Torre didn't let Clemens finish what he started.

Funny Cide didn't win the Triple Crown (here's mud in your eye).

The New Jersey Devils didn't win the Stanley Cup.

An American didn't win the French Open.

Florida prosecutors didn't win a gambling conviction against former Florida State quarterback Adrian McPherson.

Some people on Court TV didn't know the name of the famous Florida State coach is pronounced Bow-den and tough-gal host Nancy Grace didn't realize saying the defendant was "throwing up a Hail Mary in a Florida courtroom" is a cliche frowned upon in the highbrow world of sports journalism.

Bowden, on the witness stand, didn't know it was unnecessary to repeat the attorney questions the way he does reporters' questions at postgame news conferences.

Dodger pitcher Darren Dreifort's knee didn't hold up.

And hey, the Big East didn't just roll over and let the Atlantic Coast Conference take three teams without a fight. The Big East filed the Big Lawsuit.

We could go on, but Torre has us on a tight word count, despite the fact this could be a milestone column.

News: Chicago Cubs beat Yankees to deny Clemens his 300th win.

Second thought: I can't recall the last time I woke up on Saturday wanting to watch a regular-season Major League Baseball game, but I do remember it was televised on NBC and the announcers were Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek.

Saturday's gem, sadly, was an aberration in an era in which cable television proliferation and highlight saturation has stripped baseball of much of its regular-season mystery -- unless you're in a fantasy league.

News: Clemens is four strikeouts short of 4,000 for his career.

Second thought: How come whenever "experts" mention the most unbreakable records in sports, they always ignore one of the most unbreakable records in sports: Nolan Ryan's career strikeout mark of 5,714.

To put it in context: Clemens, the greatest strikeout pitcher of his generation, would need five more 300-strikeout seasons plus another 218 to catch Ryan.

To break Ryan's mark, a young fastball pitcher would have to average roughly 10 strikeouts a start for 25 years.

You hate to say "never" in sports, but I'm saying it here.

News: Five Big East schools sue to stop ACC expansion.

Second thought: The ACC will counter by stealing three Big East attorneys in an effort to form a corporate "super conference." This will allow the ACC law firm to divide into divisions and play a championship softball game at the annual company picnic.

News: New Jersey and the Ducks combine for 16 goals in last two games of Stanley Cup finals.

Second thought: Sixteen goals in two games? Outrageous. What happened to old-time hockey, Eddie Shore hockey, the beauty of hip checks and a 0-0 score headed to overtime?

Hockey has to stop this scoring glut. Make the goal smaller, let the goaltenders wear larger pads. Give me back my 1-0 shutout.

News: Serena Williams is jeered by fans in French Open loss.

Second thought: Dear France: We the undersigned deplore your lack of sporting civility and strongly object to the booing of contestants in athletic endeavors. Signed, fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and Flyers.

News: Georgia decides not to extend Athletic Director Vince Dooley's contract.

Second thought: Georgia President Michael Adams had no choice but to ease the legendary Dooley out the door given that it was Dooley who convinced Adams to hire basketball coach Jim Harrick and his son.

What's that? It was Adams who hired Harrick over Dooley's objections?

Geez. Maybe Georgia is easing the wrong guy out.

News: Dennis Rodman tells the New York Times Magazine: "What I'd really love to do is play one more year. But I've been blackballed."

Second thought: The classified ad Rodman took out recently on may have worked against him: For hire: 42-year-old, washed-out, beach bum player on the rebound (I could always do that). Shooting range: Slam dunk or closer. Likes to: drink, party, blast music till someone calls the cops, mess with peoples' minds. Dislikes: Waking up, talking to teammates, practicing on days ending in "y."

News: Michael Jordan's game-winning shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989 selected greatest shot in NBA playoff history in vote of 250,000 fans.

Second thought: Sit down kiddies, Uncle Second Thoughts wants to tell you a story.

Back in 1970, way back before ESPN, the Internet, the soft drink "Jolt" and the 10-second attention span, the Lakers trailed the New York Knicks by two points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals when Jerry West of the Lakers made a 60-foot shot at the buzzer.

Kid: "Three-pointer, Lakers win!"

Uncle ST: "No, son, that was before the three-point shot."

Kid: "Wow. There was a time before the three-point shot? Did any announcer say 'Boo-ya!?' "

Uncle ST: "Well, no, Chick Hearn didn't say that."

Kid: "If this West dude's shot was so famous, how come they don't play it five times a day on SportsCenter?"

Uncle ST: "Because the West footage is so grainy it looks like the Zapruder film."

Kid: "Zapruder what?"

Uncle ST: "Never mind."

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