(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
On Wednesday, a large contingent of the sporting media was debating on whether to tune into the Congressional hearing on steroids Thursday morning, or the NCAA tournament. Unless D.A. Jack McCoy is handling the case, I choose hoops.
I’m sure the hearings will yield some fascinating quotes from some of the superstars testifying. Like, “I plead the fifth” or “I don’t recall” or “I thought it was flax seed oil” or “I don’t know any Vito Corleone”.
Jose Canseco’s testimony will probably be funny in the way that watching your dog kick dirt over its droppings is funny, but not enough for me to watch it. The only thing remotely holding my interest is if Mark McGwire will own up to being not natural when he broke the dinger record.
(By the way, I’m writing this Wednesday night, so if any of this seems old when you read it, just remember it was hilarious on Wednesday.)
I imagine the questions Congress will have for the big leaguers will be as tough as the pitches I throw for my 7-year-old to hit. The real players in all this is the MLB player’s union, who is sending their council to testify – which I’m sure will be very forthcoming and enlightening.
But quite frankly, I don’t care if the existence of aliens is uncovered or Elvis shows up to testify in those hearings. There is no way I would watch anything other than the NCAA tournament.
Even though my Tigers are playing in the NIT, Wednesday evening felt all ‘night before Christmas-ish’. There’s nothing quite like the tourney, and the first two rounds are gifts to basketball junkies like me.
It’s the only time of the year that basketball comes on before noon on a workday and lasts for two straight days. The opening rounds are usually when all the magic happens with the underdogs also. I used to call in sick or take vacations at my other jobs so I could catch all the madness, fortunately I don’t have to do that anymore, but I encourage the rest of you to.
The only thing that might divert my attention from the games Thursday night is the Shaq-Kobe II showdown on TBS. I might have to work the last channel button on my remote in hopes of seeing the pair throwdown like Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Andy Kaufman on ‘Late Night with David Letterman’.
In that scenario the Diesel would most definitely be Lawler, and KoMe would be Kaufman. Maybe Bryant would react like the former ‘Taxi’ star by going crazy and taking up an alternate profession like touring with ‘Cats’ or showing up in public as someone named Dobie.
I probably won’t watch for long however, the Lakers are playing like they traded a superstar away, and the Heat are playing like the best team in the league. Besides, I have to root for all the underdogs I didn’t pick in my brackets to win.
I’m not like most people who fill out four or five sheets and then claim that they only picked four wrong teams. I fill out one, and then gleefully cross out most every team I pick.
This year I picked North Carolina, Duke, Oklahoma State and Louisville for my final four. As if my choosing those teams weren’t bad enough for them, my publicly announcing them as my favorites has surely doomed them.
I think Ok. State and North Carolina will meet up for the championship, with the Tar Heels coming out on top. What a story it would be if Roy Williams could win his first championship with his Alma Mata. And I’m definitely hoping for a Kansas-North Carolina meeting in the Elite Eight.
I have a feeling that the baseball bogusness will be going on for years, so there will be plenty of time for that. Watch basketball the next couple of weeks, because with respects to detectives Greene and Fontana, it’ll be the best drama on television.