Quick Takes


          ESPN apparently considers poker a sport, but I don’t. (See my article of 6/9/2005) However, I play enough of it, and I’m pleased to state that I’ve been invited back to teach the subject for a second straight semester at Community College of Southern Nevada. The semester began on 1/17. My course, “How To Play Poker Like A Pro,” is accessible to all who wish to make money at the poker table.


          Thanks to Bob Wahl, my poker friend, for a beautiful gift. He presented me with a Danbury Mint limited edition gold-inlaid encased commemorative baseball card of Babe Ruth. Bob, it is absolutely beautiful  and most appreciated.


There were no fewer than 28 college bowl games this post-season. Almost every conceivable product and service sponsored those games in some rather remote venues. It’s all about money; it’s only about money! The college bowl picture has changed greatly over the years. I remember when there were only four bowl games, and those four games (Sugar, Cotton, Orange and Rose) were viewed with great interest because they were so prestigious. Now we have a buffet of meaningless post-season games. I suggest one other irrelevant corporate-sponsored bowl game be added to the schedule. The “Toto USA Toilet Bowl” would be played in Morrow, Georgia, Toto USA’s home office site. It would be perfect; the college bowl picture needs a good flush!


          Any QB named Leaf can’t be all good. Brady Leaf managed to screw up Oregon’s comeback with a pick in the final minute of their game against Oklahoma that would have won it for the Ducks in the Holiday Bowl. Brady is the kid brother of the NFL’s top bust since the War of 1812, Ryan Leaf. Apparently Leafs don’t fall far from the tree. Stop booing; I thought that was damn clever actually.


Now for another family. The brothers Manning never took Leadership 101. Eli and the Giants got blown out by Carolina in the playoffs; Eli then publicly blamed his coach for same. Peyton and the Colts lost to Pittsburgh in the playoffs (losing playoff games is a habit of Peyton), and he publicly blamed his offensive line for it. A leader does not point fingers publicly; he leads by example, bites his tongue publicly, and earns respect. I have no respect for these two classless chokers who should look in the mirror before opening their mouths. And father Archie, who himself was a leader when he played, took exception to Terry Bradshaw’s criticism of Peyton’s post-game comments. Terry Bradshaw was absolutely correct, and so am I! 


          The Las Vegas sports books took a major hit this past NFL season. Bettors love to bet favorites, and favorites covered the spread enough this season to cause lots of red ink in the sports books. Two sports book managers who requested anonymity confirmed same to me. Too bad it didn’t carry over to the division playoffs just concluded. I bet all four home favorites; only two of them covered.   


Story of the Week



          Hockey can be a violent game. But what this article is about has little to do with hockey. It could have happened in any sport. It could have taken place in a non-sports environment. But it didn’t; it took place during a NHL game between Vancouver and Denver on 3-8-04 in Vancouver.

          Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks grabbed Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche from behind, punched him in the head and slammed his head into the ice. Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a concussion and other injuries. Steve Moore hasn’t played since the incident, better described as a premeditated attack, 22 months ago, and probably will never play again.

          Todd Bertuzzi was charged with assault and pleaded guilty in a Vancouver court, where he was sentenced to probation and community service. Probation and community service is hardly due punishment for Bertuzzi breaking Moore’s neck intentionally and ending his career.

          Moore’s civil suit, brought forth in Denver, accused Bertuzzi, Canucks coach Marc Crawford and others of conspiring to hurt Moore after Moore and Canucks captain Markus Naslund got into a brawl in a previous game. The suit sought unspecified damages.

          The judge said Moore’s civil lawsuit would be better handled in Canada where Moore’s injury occurred. He ostensibly threw the case out of his court. Colorado state law requires that plaintiffs pay the defendants’ fees and costs when cases are dismissed before trial. Now Bertuzzi and the other defendants want Moore to pay $161,000 in attorney fees and court costs after the Colorado judge dismissed the civil suit in October of last year.

          Moore’s attorney, Lee Foreman, has notified the Colorado Court of Appeals that he will appeal the dismissal of Moore’s suit. Good luck!

          Now for the rest of the story. Todd Bertuzzi, himself an outstanding NHL power-forward, has been selected to represent Team Canada in the 2006 Olympics. While Moore’s playing career has been taken from him, Bertuzzi will now represent his country in the Olympics. Many Canadians are astounded by Bertuzzi’s selection, and have made it clear that they do not want him representing their country. I am also astounded by his selection to Team Canada. As far as I’m concerned, that selection condones Bertuzzi’s attack on Moore, and it wrongly tarnishes the image of our wonderful neighbor to the north.  

          This case is living proof that certain “privileged” people can be above the law. Todd Bertuzzi is clearly one such person. He was above the law in two different courtrooms in two different countries. And he’ll now be representing Team Canada in the Olympics. This entire incident is the quintessential slap shot at justice!


Last Week’s Trivia


          Life in Chicago before the Bulls. Some of you didn’t bite on my question; there was more than one pro basketball team in Chicago before the Bulls. The NBA was formed in 1946. One of its teams was the Chicago Stags. The Stags dropped out of the league in 1950. In 1961, the Chicago Packers joined the NBA. In 1962, the Packers were renamed the Zephyrs. In 1963, the Zephyrs moved to Baltimore and became the Bullets. The Chicago Bulls were born in 1966. Leonard Adams, a Chicagoan and a very knowledgeable sports fan, provided me with the most complete answer I received.


Trivia Question of the Week


          Can you imagine being asked to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a heavyweight championship fight, and then forgetting the words? It’s been done. Who did it? What fight? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.