January17/ 2000

For any “real sports fan” to miss these League Championships would be like an art lover passing up a trip to The Louvre.  Baseball high drama at its very best.  No “bad boy” side issues, no collective bargaining or cork or consensual sex.  JUST EXCITING BASEBALL!  … “buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks”.  Closer to home we have Miami and  McCants issues to discuss.

   I don’t have a dog in the Curse of The Bambino thingie.  I was living near Boston during The Buckner Series and remember exactly where I was when “Mookie tapped the slow roller” …  But I’ve also met Joe Torre and he is A FIRST CLASS GUY.  Then there’s pinstriper Clyde King too. And, I do think Derek Jeter has to have just about the greatest life of anyone anywhere … except for Ann-Margaret’s masseuse of course.  But I like to see streaks end so I’m glad to see the BoSox take it. 

   The four BoSox backs-to-the-wall Ws were simply amazing games.  Torre and Francona in 5 hours chess matches worthy of Fischer v Spassky.  If that 14 inning game had gone one more, Tony Conigliaro was set to pitch to Frankie Crosetti.  

   The high drama with Boston-NY has one drawback … it detracted from the equally high drama in the NL.  I defy any baseball historian to recall six exciting games of such importance (if ANY “game” can be “important”!) happening at the same time.  The “Stros Killer Bees … throwbacks to “old leaguers” for sure.  The goatees get old after the first 30 but they do draw your attention away from those goofy “softball pants”.

   Nancy Lopez mentioned how hubby Ray Knight preferred Sparky Anderson’s “rules” on uniforms and facial hair with the Big Red Machine. I guess Johnny Damon and Sparky would clash, huh?

   I hope Carlos Beltran is NOT a Yankee next year.  If Derek Jeter’s life is not “the best” then Craig Biggio’s is.  Craig has a Hallmark Card family AND a mega-cool job playing a game he loves.

   I know that some misguided fools think “baseball is boring”.  NAY … if “baseball is boring” then “computers are simple tools”.  There is sooo much strategy in those late critical innings. Bottom of the 9th, the go-ahead run at the plate with 2 outs and a 3-2 count … pitcher has his sign … “boring” … I THINK NOT!   

   OK, any sport can be “high drama” in those critical moments.  Those last 30 seconds in Kenan on October 9th were pretty tense.  The final seconds of UNC-Georgetown, UNC-Michigan, NC State-Houston … final play Ohio State-Miami … ‘Canes-Red Wings Stanley Cup OT … 18th green at Augusta with a 15’ downhill putt to win.

   As I watched these great baseball games, what really thrilled me was the intensity in the athletes on all four teams.  With all the crap and garbage going on in pro (and college) sports these days, one had the feeling every Red Sox, Yankee, Astro, and Cardinal would have gladly PAID to be a part of those “games”.  Mano a mano … time stands still … pitcher vs batter … Yes Virginia, there can be something “special” about sports! 


   I have never met Rashad McCants.  I know nothing more about him than 99% of UNC and ACC fans know.  He is a very talented basketball player with a dour countenance.  He also has a real knack for getting himself embroiled in brouhahas.  

   McCants’ latest tempestuous teapot involves an interview he gave last week to a local TV reorter in which, depending upon whose version you prefer, he compared being at UNC to “being in jail”.  KABOOM! … This prompted Ol’ Roy to call a press conference on Tuesday to discuss “who said what. why and what about whatever was said by whomever …”.

   As I noted in a recent column … the “Carolina-type kid” is a MYTH.  It has been a myth for many years.  If you insist on defining these players as such then admit that UNC’s rivals have plenty of “Carolina-type kids” too.  Todd Fuller, Shane Battier, Johnny Evans, Tim Duncan, Phillip Rivers, et al qualify for any Wheaties box you want to design.  Accept it … Live with it!

   UNC has had its “bad boyz” to rank with any rival school.  Not a lot mind you; but as many as Duke, State, and Wake have had over the years.  Each school has had many many fine “student athletes” too. Yes, Dean Smith had an “arrangement” to keep his “bad boyz” antics on the QT.  Every coach develops such “arrangements”. Not all Wuffie and Dookie malfeasances make it to the front pages either … despite Lupine whines to the contrary.

   18-22 year old males are ticking testosterone time bombs.  Put them on false pedestals and remind them how “special” and exalted they are.  The resultant “bulletproof mindset” is a recipe for personal and institutional embarrassment.   

   How would Ye Olde Legend (YOL) have “handled Rashad”?  Why do you think YOL retired?  I maintain that YOL forsaw this new era of outspoken urban culture athletes and that prompted the surprise extinguishing of YOL’s belly fire on October 9, 1997.  He “dealt with it” by walking away from it.  Old Dog – New Tricks?? – No Thank You. Roy is better equipped to deal with the “Rashads” of this era than his exalted mentor was.  Roy blamed the media for all this … coaches blame EVERYTHING on either reporters or referees … it’s a rule.   

   Did Rashad “mean” what he said in the way that any reader/viewer would “take it”?  Probably not.  Should he have said it?  Absolutely not. Is he likely to do/say something controversial again?  Probably.  Will he “mean to”?  Who knows. Poor misunderstood Rashad … boorrring!

   Rashad McCants was recruited by Matt Doherty.  Matt Doherty had a different model in mind for his program than Ol’ Roy has.  Would Ol’ Roy have recruited Rashad McCants to UNC?  I doubt it.  Look at Ol’ Roy’s Jayhawk teams.  Do you see any “dour and misunderstood types” on those teams? Reminder: Several teams have won NCAA Titles without “Carolina-type kids” … UNLV, Arkansas, etc.

   Ol Roy recruited “Carolina-type kids” to Kansas.  Ol’ Roy is/will recruit “Carolina-type kids” in building his Carolina program.  Ol Roy is a “good man”.  He will “handle” Rashad McCants the best he can while he has to, being “fair” to McCants, to the other kids in his program, and to Ol’ Roy’s vision of Carolina Basketball – past, present, and future.  

   Carolina sports fans are reeling from shoplifters, dope smokers, scoreboard routs, and now having “Blue Heaven” compared to “jail”.  Other than all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

   These “humility lessons” are getting REAL OLD.  I’m up for some old fashioned pompous arrogance myself.


Miami visits “The Carter”

 Purdue vs Indiana for “the olde oaken bucket” … 

Minnesota vs Michigan for “the little brown jug”

UNC vs Duke for “the victory bell” … 

Washington vs Wash St for “the apple cup”

Miami vs NC State for “a parking pass at Killian High School”

   Emotions run high as South Florida expatriat Wuffs go against old running buddies.  Wuff offense too inconsistent plus who knows if TA will show up. ‘Canes by 18 as Coker tries to shut down Chuck’s underground railroad.  Somehow Wuff Loonies will, as usual, cry “unfair … foul … bias” as Miami Herald sportswriter refers to Michael Jordan in post game story.  NOTE: Lydia disagrees w/ Swagger on this one … see below!

“Bye” favored by 12 points over Tar Heels


Swagger’s Stumper

What former NFLer was known as “The Dutchman”?


Lydia’s Picks

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Watson Brown won the first conference title (UAB – Conference USA) and not Mack?  It’s elementary, my dear…


   BCS poll resembles presidential poll  – too close to call… Tell that to the Sooners who were jumped by the ‘Canes. Wonder who will be the Supreme Court in this scenario? Katherine Harris? And does anyone else think it’s peculiar that this is a Florida team? My bet is we’ll have several “recounts” before the Big Game! Who’s YOUR Daddy?


LSU V. Troy State – “Troy” will need more than the mythical Trojan horse to defeat the Tigers. LSU celebrates homecoming the good old-fashioned way – and crown Helen Queen of the Night.


OU V. KS – Sooners screaming that “B” in BCS stands for bias! The fresh phenom looking to become the Prince of Norman and win the big prize – the Heis! KU students lining up – to see roundball. Put it in the “W” column for Stoops who hopes to jump back to #2. 


FSU V. Wake Forest – Rix is “nix”ed for remainder of season. Noles on a mission to prove they belong in the top 5. Deacon Demons (a classic oxymoron) prove to be no match for the native tribe this time – and they once again prove their culture is worth preserving.


BAMA V. TN – Will this be a football game or a deposition?  Fulmer, wary of being subpoenaed by AL lawyers, pulls a “Sammy” and leaves after 3rd quarter to avoid press. TN beats the washed up Tide and Bear turns over in his grave.   


Miami V. NC State – This storm is beginning to fizzle and will soon be downgraded to a tropical depression – just like their fans. Berlin, the bipolar quarterback is asked to be poster child for Zoloft.  Schizo NC State plays up to it’s potential and gets the win – in a season that has already been lost.


Purdue V. Michigan- I can’t believe one fumble can cause Orton’s Heisman campaign and the NC hopes of the Boilermakers to be over… What happened to one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl? Purdue is tough and shows that it ain’t over ‘til it’s over by beating the Wolverines in a classic Big 10 battle.


USC V. Washington- USC fans booking flights and rooms for Orange bow as Trojans continue to win in the pitiful PAC 10.  A three-way race for Heisman will have Leinhart and Bush divvying up votes to pave way for OU’s A. Peterson.  No, not THAT Bush. Sound familiar? 


TX V. TX Tech – TX thinks of Tech like a redheaded stepchild in the Big 12. The Red Raiders do have the ability to throw the long ball and put some points on the board. Longhorn defense will rise to the occasion and win this one for state braggin rights – but it’s the wrong state. 


“Ebony Eyes” died in the crash of “Flight 1203”.  One of the classic “Dead Girl” songs of the 60s … this one by The Everly Brothers of course. “ … the first angel I’ll recognize …”.  If you don’t have Everly Brothers songs floating around in your head, then you and BobLee don’t have much in common.

Special Kudos to “Mother Buck” for recalling “Laurie (Strange things happen in this world)” by Dickie Lee.  Dead girl’s ghost comes back to go to dance …

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