Sunday, November 13, 2011
It was Madison Square Garden in New York on March 8, 1971, when Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali battled for the first time. . . . During the fight, Ali said: "Don't you know I'm God?" . . . To which Frazier replied: "God, you're gonna get your ass kicked tonight." . . .
Frazier did just that, winning a unanimous decision and handing Ali his first defeat in 32 pro fights. Frazier, 67, died Monday of liver cancer, ending one of the great chapters in sports history. . . . Looking at the state of boxing today, it is impossible to realize just how big the sport was back in the day. . . .
On Wednesday, with Penn State embroiled in scandal, the Nittany Lions held their first practice after head coach Joe Paterno announced his retirement effective the end of the season. The choice of music? It was Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down. . . . Later that night, the school’s board fired Paterno as strains of Petty’s Don’t Come Around Here No More could be heard in the background. . . . A tweet from ESPNStatsInfo: “The last time Joe Paterno was not on Penn State's coaching staff, Hank Aaron was 5 years away from hitting his 1st HR.” . . .
Monday’s NFL game featured defensive end Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears and guard Danny Watkins of the Philadelphia Eagles. And when is the last time football players from Brandon and Kelowna opposed each other in an NFL game? . . . Watkins, a 27-year-old rookie who once was a Kelowna firefighter, started at right guard, while Idonije often came off the left edge. Watkins more than held his own, while Idonije showed that he is on the verge of becoming a real force with the Monsters of the Midway. . . . Ron Judd, in the Seattle Times: “Seahawks coach / motivational guru Pete Carroll says his team members are ‘frustrated’ by their lame performance. Really? Imagine how they'd feel if they were paying 125 bucks to watch themselves play.” . . .
If you watched the LSU at Alabama college football game a week ago, you saw a classic example of two head coaches who were afraid to lose. The game featured five field goals, no touchdowns, four interceptions and four missed field goals. LSU won, 9-6, in OT. . . . Here’s Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com: "If that was The Game of the Century, then I want my 100 years back. . . . These two teams deserve a BCS-championship rematch like Kim Kardashian deserves to keep her wedding gifts." . . . That same fear-of-losing logic also was in play Wednesday when the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning went into a stall during an NHL game in the Florida city. That had to have been one of the most embarrassing moments in recent NHL history, especially considering the game was on national TV in the U.S. . . .
With some chatter in our country about the future of the beaver as a national symbol, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald wondered: "How can a country obsessed with hockey have a mascot with teeth?" . . . He’d rather we used a young and smiling Bobby Clarke? . . . Sidney Crosby must be about ready to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins. We know this because the Penguins have sent enforcer Steve MacIntyre to the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on a conditioning assignment. MacIntyre, who is expected to be to Crosby what Dave Semenko was to Wayne Gretzky, signed as a free agent on July 12. However, MacIntyre played just four games with Pittsburgh in Sid the Kid’s absence. . . .
How’s your memory? Do you remember when the B.C. Lions were 0-5? Were you one of the folks saying that it was time for Wally Buono to leave the sideline? . . . What? Not you? Thought so. . . . Not much doubt who the CFL’s coach of the year will be, that’s for sure. . . . By the way, the CFL’s three East Division playoff teams were 0-6 over the regular season’s last two weekends. . . . This being the CFL, of course, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats likely will win the Grey Cup. . . .
After Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kris Humphries, Greg Connors of the Buffalo News noted that the NBAer is a double loser: “He's the only NBA player who is officially locked out at work and at home." . . . Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “My absolute favorite part of the whole Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries breakup was Kris Jenner, Kim’s mom, going on TV and tearfully saying that she hated for this all to play out in such a public way. Absolutely right. Because the family always likes to keep family things private.” . . . Headline at TheOnion.com: "Theo Epstein disgusted to find Cubs playing in old stadium with weeds growing all over walls." . . .
Quarterbacking obviously runs in the Rypien family. Mark Rypien won a Super Bowl as the QB of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Now his daughter, Angela, is the QB of the Lingerie league’s Seattle Mist. . . . And what does Dad think when fans are hooting at his 20-year-old daughter as she plays football in her bra and panties? “There's no chance of (a fight) happening,” Mark told Jim Weber of Yahoo! Sports. "One, some guy (would0 probably whoop my ass out in the parking lot. What good's that gonna do? And if I did whoop his ass in the parking lot, what good's that gonna do? I'll get a lawsuit against me." . . . The New York Mets have announced that they are going to move in the fences at Citi Field in an attempt to increase the number of long balls. "Call me old-fashioned,” says TNT’s Conan O’Brien, “but isn't that what steroids are for?"
Gregg Drinnan is sports editor of The Daily News. Email him at email@example.com, follow him at twitter.com/gdrinnan, or visit his blog at gdrinnan.blogspot.com. Keeping Score appears Saturdays.