PITCHERS AND CATCHERS AND OTHER PICTURE POSTCARDS

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By Rex O’Rourke

Bear Mountain, New York – It was a busy week in sports both on and off the field. Here’s the recap:

#1 – Pitchers and catchers reported and nothing, I mean nothing, did I mention nothing, is more important. Everyone is in first place, The Royals are improved, The Reds are healthy, The Mariners rebuilt, The Mets are winning the, ahem, World Series. Everyone’s zero games back in the loss column and have a chance, which is a beautiful thing.

#2 – Lindsay Vonn is cute. In fact there are so many attractive Olympians I can’t turn away. Get a-load-a those Scandinavian curlers.

#3 – The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show had me scratching my head a bit. There were a slew of mutts in attendance, and I don’t mean the dogs. Did you see some of the drapes and table cloths the judges and handlers were wearing? Talk about fashion don’ts! The seventies called, they want their bell bottoms and skirts back.

#4 – In a totally unrelated subject, I was channel surfing the other day and happened upon some clips of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson circa 1975 or so. He was high jumping with Bob Seagren and starring in a couple of skits. I had forgotten how much better, how much funnier, than everyone else he was. Letterman, Leno, and Conan have talent, but Carson was so much better than them it’s not even close.

#5 – What is going on in pairs and men’s figure skating? I consider myself a somewhat enlightened person. I am not a caveman. Yet, I don’t understand why a man can’t wear a tuxedo looking kind of outfit, something like George Clooney wears at the Oscars; classy, understated, cool. You get my drift? These guys look ridiculous! I respect what they’re doing, the hours of training, the athleticism, and the dedication. I can barely stand on skates. But do they have to look like Liza Minnelli?

#6Tiger Woods has officially perfected the art of the non-apology apology. You know the drill. Athlete screws the pooch, athlete says he regrets if he offended anyone, athlete blames the media. It was such disingenuous crapola I almost coughed up my Captain Crunch. He schedules the presser (if you can call it that) on day two of The Accenture Match Play Championship, in an obvious attempt to stick it to a former employer. He’ll be back and he’ll win but will he dominate ever again? It’s going to be interesting.

#7 – I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m really enjoying curling. I know these folks live on Mountain Dew and McDonald’s but it is pretty good theatre and I’m going out on a limb and calling it a sport. I don’t care what the haters say.

#8 – I read an interesting article in Friday’s NY Post. After the disastrous Calgary Games none other than George Steinbrenner, yes that George Steinbrenner, took an active role with the USOC, vowing to improve the lot of Winter Olympians (Bonnie Blair used to sneak into a rink at 6am to train) and raise money for better facilities and equipment. Looks like it worked. Well done Boss.

#9 – I’m going on record with the Tracy McGrady trade. He’s damaged goods and plays older than his age, because by going to the NBA out of high school, he played an 82 game schedule instead of a 35 game slate in college. He didn’t have the body to absorb that kind of punishment that young (unlike LeBron who, believe me, is not the least bit impressed) and he and The Knicks will pay dearly for it. Can you say Allan Houston? As my rugby coach used to say, “He’s meat, he’s done.” Another awful move. By the way, Donnie Walsh steered The Pacers to one NBA Finals appearance in 17 years (with Rik Smits, Reggie Miller, and Mark Jackson no less) so what’s so great about Donnie Walsh?

#10 – I hope the Olympics have a better second week than the first. They’ve had malfunctions, motorcade accidents, security breaches, bad weather, inexplicable lack of safety at several venues (Petra Majdic of Slovenia broke four ribs in cross country qualifying falling down into a ravine on an unprotected sharp turn), a tragic luge accident, and both K.D. Lang and Sarah Mclachlan. Better luck this week.

Until next week,
Rex

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