Joe Santoro: Friday Fodder…
July 13, 2012
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Some sporting events do not need to have great meaning. Some don’t have to be significant or noteworthy or even memorable. Some just need to be fun. And that is what baseball’s All-Star game, unlike any other All-Star game, provides every July. The San Francisco Giants dominated the game. Bryce Harper let a routine fly ball drop behind him. Ian Kinsler did the gentlemanly thing and allowed a Chipper Jones’ slow roller get past him for a hit. Aroldis Chapman, Steven Strasburg and Craig Kimbrel came in and threw bullets. The two former Reno Aces, Wade Miley and Ryan Cook, got to pitch. R.A. Dickey fluttered knuckleballs to Carlos Ruiz’s gigantic glove. Tony LaRussa was back in the dugout for one last time. Super Kids Mike Trout and Harper played in what will be their first of about 15 All-Star games. It’s OK once in a while to just have fun in sports.
The best part of the All-Star festivities, though, were the Kansas City Royals fans booing New York Yankee Robinson Cano every time he walked to the plate in the Home Run Hitting Contest or the All Star Game. The ESPN and Fox announcers, which normally treat every Yankee as if he is Hall of Fame bound, didn’t know how to handle it. Nobody should blame the Royals fans for being upset that Cano didn’t pick Royal Billy Butler for the batting practice home run contest. It’s time the city that hosts the All Star team gets at least one player in the Home Run Hitting Contest. The player doesn’t have to be an All Star. It’s rare that an All Star, for example, is in the Slam Dunk contest.
Is the Miami Heat, with the addition of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, now the greatest team in NBA history? Of course not. The old Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, among others, would whip this Heat team. But when the Heat breaks the 1995-96 Bulls’ record of 72 victories next year, you are going to have to ponder the question seriously. Injuries could cripple this Heat team but if they stay healthy there really isn’t anyone who will seriously challenge them for the 2012-13 title.
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There really isn’t any reason why the Nevada Wolf Pack football team can’t win the Mountain West Conference this year. The patchwork conference is a collection of mediocre football schools and Boise State. And Boise, which will lose at Mackay Stadium this fall, by the way, is a shell of its former self. The Wolf Pack didn’t join a better conference. They merely evacuated a dying one.
Does it really surprise anyone that Joe Paterno was part of a huge cover-up at Penn State regarding the Jerry Sandusky ugliness? That is what coaches and universities do. How else could they get you to buy overpriced tickets to their games or pay extravagant tuition fees?
But this isn’t your normal university cover-up. This cuts right to the bone of what a university is supposed to be about. Why would you send your son or daughter to a university – or cheer for a football program – that looks the other way when one of their own is abusing children? If it is at all legally possible to do so, the Big Ten should boot them out of the conference.
The national media needs to relax when it comes to Dwight Howard. Howard is not LeBron James. He’s not Kobe Bryant. He’s not Kevin Durant. He’s just an over-hyped shot blocker who looks good in a Superman cape. He can’t win a championship as the best player on his team. He’s a nice complementary part. He’s Chris Bosh. Relax.
Bryant said this week the 2012 United States men’s basketball Olympic team would beat the 1992 team. Bryant needs to keep quiet and go spend more time in the gym this summer with Steve Nash. The 1992 Dream Team would pound the 2012 team. All you need are two reasons: Michael. Jordan. Nobody on this Olympic team even remotely competes as hard as Jordan did. The 1992 team had Magic Johnson and John Stockton at point guard. It had a young Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing grabbing every rebound.
It had Scottie Pippen shutting down the other team’s best offensive player. And don’t forget Larry Bird and Chris Mullin shooting threes. The only guy dreaming on the 2012 team is Kobe.