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Sports Watching & Wondering

John Randolph Rogers

I need help from the Readers. It has been a hard week, and when it comes to sports, the thrill is gone. (At least temporarily, I beg forgiveness from B. B. King, for stealing that line.)

Please allow me to explain my problem to you, if you will be so kind. The baseball season has started, but it will last for an eternity, so it is difficult for me to get excited about it. Besides, the big stars move from team to team, after every season, so by the time I find out who they are, they are ready to move on.

The NBA Playoffs may last longer than the regular season. They take nearly a week between every game. They do this in an effort to have as many games as possible on prime time television on Sunday afternoons. I don't blame them for making as much money as they can, but when there is that much time between games, the sense of urgency is diminished. I suspect that some of the players may have to be reminded as to who their opponents are.

It also seems to me that the enjoyment of the game is diminished by the increasing number of fouls that are called by the referees. In addition, there is usually some Shakespearean drama performed by the offending player and his coach. It often takes about 30 seconds to one minute to settle them down. If their complaints are too boisterous, or otherwise inappropriate, their behavior could lead to another penalty, a Technical Foul.

When I played basketball, which is longer ago than I care to disclose, players were never allowed to even touch their opponents. Basketball was not a contact sport. Also, any Player who committed four fouls had to be removed from the game. I am not saying that the old way was better, but I am saying that it was different. Since today's players apparently want to beat each other up, then they might consider doing away with both fouls and referees. Their contest could be just mixed Martial Arts with basketballs.

OK, OK, back to the drawing board. The Lakers are busy trying to free themselves of the brutal and pesky Jazz. If your team is going to play the Jazz, it is a good idea to stock up on Tylenol before the game. Also, it would not hurt to have the Red Cross and Dr. Phil on standby, in case they were needed. The Lakers should overcome this nuisance, but they will have a real problem on their hands with the Portland Trail Blazers. This is a young team, with an excellent coach and some emerging stars. They have been a headache to the Lakers all year and things figure to get even tougher.

After the charges in Colorado were dropped against him, it seems that Kobe Bryant became the spokesperson for the Lakers organization. I suspect that his Public Relations people advised him to go on television as often as possible and to also be available for interviews. In this way, he could rebuild his image. Prior to that incident, if I recall correctly, he had very little media participation, except when he was actually playing basketball.

His Public Relations efforts might have been a good idea at that time, but frankly I feel overwhelmed by his presence. He is now, not only the 'Official Spokesperson' for the Lakers, but also for Barack & Michelle Obama, all of his teammates, the NBA, the Clippers, USC, UCLA, the Kings, Habitat for Humanity, Phil Jackson, Fidel Castro, Jack Nicholson, Michael Jackson, Miss California, Sarah Palen, Rush Limbaugh, Larry King, Oprah Winfrey, and Nike. He will also be starring in a Spike Lee produced documentary about him. I'll leave it to you to figure out what the title of this film will be.

Meanwhile back in the East, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are steamrolling everything in their path. They feel that this is their year and they do not plan to be denied. Their coach, Mike Brown, was selected as the NBA Coach of the Year. They are a tight knit organization, and their unity is a part of their strength. They not only did not have any Divas on their team, there are not any in the entire state of Ohio.

There have been millions of words written speculating about which team will draft former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. The prognosticators are almost always wrong. But I never am, and here is the scoop. Sanchez (drum roll please) will be drafted by the NFL.

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