Quick Take #1
What do Arafat and the Cardinals have in common? They both collapsed on the same day. It wasnít the worst tank job of all time in World Series play, but itís close. The Cardinalsí performance this year was the second worst World Series performance ever coming off a superlative regular season. The Cards won 105 regular season games and got swept in the Series. The absolute worst such performance came in 1954 when the Cleveland Indians got swept by the New York Giants after they set a league record 111 wins in AL regular season play, and that in just 154 games.
Congratulations to the best team in baseball, the Boston Red Sox. They won the World Series, and deservedly so. Last weekís article took a shot at Bostonís base-running in the ALCS; I suggested that they address the subject in spring training next year. Well, my hometown Cardinals have a much longer list to address next spring. It absolutely blows my mind that the team that led the majors in wins during the regular season could be so inept during the World Series in so many categories; their pitching, hitting, and base-running were an embarrassment. The Red Sox and the Cardinals both beat the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.
Quick Take #2
One of my frequent Sports Junkie e-mail pals is a very sports-savvy guy named Jonathan Krost. I would not go "all in" against him in a trivia contest; my sports knowledge pales by comparison to his. He happens to be from my hometown of St. Louis; heís now a resident of the Monterey, CA. area. I had the pleasure of spending an evening with him in a local sports book recently; we wore out the subject of sports trivia. This articleís "Last Weekís Trivia" as well as the "Trivia Question of the Week" are his.
Story of the Week
The Menís Olympic basketball team has caught much heat for itís less-than-gold performance recently. I donít have a problem with the result. My problem deals with those mega-millionaire NBA players who were invited to represent our country, the same country in which they make all those bucks, in the Olympics, and didnít. It prompted me to phone the U.S. Olympic headquarters for the names of those players.
My conversation with Craig Miller (Craig officially is Assistant Executive Director of Communications, USA Basketball) was most enlightening. He shared that list with me. He also pointed out the various reasons why some of the players who were invited elected not to participate. The reasons included court problems (we know who he is), other personal problems, injuries, and expected child birth. In one case, a particular player dreads flying; he obviously must do it during the NBA season, but heís scared stiff of it. And, yes, the reason in a couple of cases was the lack of desire to make the strong personal commitment necessary.
Although I could rattle off the specific list here, Iíve elected not to do so. Iíll merely state that it would be a great thrill for me to represent my country in the Olympics were I a talented athlete asked to do so. If I live in a country that permits me the luxury of earning the kind of money these guys make, then I owe it to my country to bust my hump for that coveted gold medal. So I obviously donít buy into the sophomoric excuses that some of these players brought forth. Just so you all clearly see the picture Iím painting here, if they were asked to play, and if they could have played, and if they elected to pass on the invite, they suck! Case closed!
Craig and I touched upon another topic that Iíve always found rather interesting, though it is a departure from the basic theme of this article. All of our major sports use the term "World Champions" in their reference to the champions of their particular sport. Craig and I both feel itís overkill. Whoís to say that another countryís baseball, basketball or hockey team couldnít beat the recognized pro champ of that given year in MLB, the NBA or the NHL? The NFL could be the only exception based on the unique (to our country) way our game of "football" is played.
My thanks to Craig Miller for a most informative conversation. Cheers to all of our Olympic performers, coaches, etc. And special congratulations to our Womenís Olympic basketball team for its third straight gold medal and 24th. straight Olympic game victory.
Last Weekís Trivia
E. J. Holub of the Kansas City Chiefs started at linebacker (defense) in Super Bowl I, and started at center (offense) in Super Bowl IV.
Trivia Question of the Week
Before they embarked on careers that took them to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, they played on pro basketball championship teams. Who are these two well known sports figures? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.