Friday, July 18, 2014





Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, writing about LeBron James and his pursuit of Michael Jordan’s legend: “Michael Jordan and the Bulls went to the NBA Finals six times. The Bulls won all six of those series AND Michael Jordan was the MVP of the finals all six times. The simple fact is that James cannot meet let alone exceed that standard. James and his teams (Cavs and Heat) have been to the Finals five times. The Cavs/Heat have only won two of those five series. It would seem to me that the only way to exceed 6-for-6 would be to go 7-for-7. That is mathematically impossible.” . . . If you missed it Friday night, the host Ottawa Redblacks got past the Toronto Bluewhites, 18-17, in CFL action. . . .

I always wonder how they figure out these things, but some economists have done the calculations and decided that LeBron’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers will benefit the local economy to the tune of $500 million. “More importantly for James,” writes Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post, “it will inject $21 million a year into his economy.” . . . Babe Ruth’s 1918 contract with the Boston Red Sox sold for $1.02 million the other day. “Out of force of habit,” reports Hamilton, “the Yankees bought it.” . . . Headline at SportsPickle.com: Local soccer bar back to just being an Irish pub again. . . .

“Did you see the new rule for the next America’s Cup?” asks Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Seriously. The defending champion U.S. team will be allowed a backup boat, but the challenger teams will not. That’s like a World Series where only one team is allowed to have a bullpen.” . . . “Johnny Manziel might be second string in Cleveland,” notes Ostler, “but he’s a starter in Las Vegas, baby. Just before reporting to the Browns, Johnny Football was seen spraying Champagne on Vegas nightclub patrons. How many rookies are willing to put in the time practicing Super Bowl celebrations?” . . .

How bad was the smoke in the Kamloops area on Wednesday? My lungs thought they were smoking Export A’s for the first time since, well, 2003 when the hills around here were aflame. . . . So some guy in the Seattle area was really fed up with this spider he had noticed in his home. So he pulled out a can of spray paint and a cigarette lighter. Before he was done, he had caused $60,000 in fire damage to his home. . . . Gotta wonder when his spidey senses kicked in and told him it was hot in there. . . . No word on whether the spider survived. . . . “And once again,” wrote Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “somewhere Darwin is saying, ‘Missed it by that much.’ ” . . .

A question from Hough: “Who's done the better acting job in last month? The floppers of the World Cup or the millions of Americans who pretended to care about soccer?” . . . During Tuesday’s MLB All-Star game, this tweet was sent out by @CBSNews: “Michael Jeter takes bow at his final All-Star game.” To which Hough responded: “Wonder if Michael’s brother is any good?” . . . I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a problem with NL starter Adam Wainwright putting a fastball on a tee for AL shortstop Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game. . . . But I still have a problem with MLB using the All-Star Game to determine home-field advantage in the World Series. . . . Because of that, baseball still will be talking about that one pitch during the October-November Classic. . . . Contributor Bill Littlejohn says he’s heard that Wainwright’s “new walk-up music just became ‘Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon’ ” . . . In case you missed it, Lindsey Vonn and Roger Federer played some tennis the other day, atop a glacier in the Swiss Alps. “Federer was supposed to play Maria Sharapova,” noted Littlejohn, “but officials worried her grunting could have triggered an avalanche.” . . .

Mike Lupica, in The New York Daily News: “A friend of mine said that it might take Heat fans, as casual as they are about when they show up for games, until the middle of November to notice that LeBron is actually gone. And that’s without traffic.” . . . If you’re looking for a good read, you can’t go wrong with Up, Up & Away: The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball, & the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos. If you were a fan of the Expos, author Jonah Keri will put you through an emotional wringer, especially when he reminds you how close this team came to being -- dare we say it? -- a dynasty. . . .

How loud was the celebration in Germany after the World Cup? “It was so noisy in Berlin,” reports comedy writer Alan Ray, “the CIA could barely hear to eavesdrop.” . . . “Russia is hosting the next World Cup,” notes syndicated columnist Norman Chad. “Of course, by 2018 the Russian empire could extend west to Poland and east to Alaska, so host cities are up in the air. Warsaw and Anchorage should be on high alert!” . . . Last weekend in sports is wrapped up by NBC’s Seth Meyers: “LeBron went back to being a Cavalier, Carmelo went back to being a Knick, and soccer went back to being a thing you drive your kids to.” . . . “So, hot-dog eating champ Joey Chestnut is about to be married?” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Our condiments to the bride.”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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