BRONX, NY – I’m not sure if it was the whole Donald Sterling mess that started it, but these days sports seems to be sending me back to simpler times in search of clues, answers, and maybe even an after-school snack. It’s true. Much of what is happening in athletics these days seems either eerily familiar or a faded carbon copy of what used to be. I need some sort of guide to help me figure it all out. Hmm… maybe some old TV Guides will do the trick.
The Magic Garden. No matter what you thought about two chicks (who may or may not be lesbians) sharing a lush garden with a doofus squirrel named Sherlock and a flower patch high on laughing gas, you must admit that this WPIX, New York stalwart (1972-1994) was a hell of a lot more magical than anything that’s happened at the Garden called Madison Square in the last two decades. The Rangers better hope there’s some magic left after their 5-2 shellacking at the hands of the Flyers last night.
Diff’rent Strokes. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out where I had heard portions of Donald Sterling’s racist rant. I thought for sure that it was on All in the Family or Good Times. Then it came to me. I was wrong. It was from a very special episode of the feel-good NBC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes where the usually level-headed Mr. Drummond gets drunk and unloads on an unsuspecting Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae in an Emmy-nominated turn) about the pressures of raising Arnold and Willis. Here’s the exact dialogue from the show.
Mr. Drummond [stumbling towards the liquor cabinet]: “Edna, you don’t understand. I give them food and clothes and houses and goldfish named Abraham. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?”
When Donald Sterling gets through suing the NBA, the estate of the late Conrad Bain should sue him.
Wacky Races. The 98th running of the Indy 500 is coming up on May 25th and I couldn’t care less. I think my overall disinterest in cars and car racing can be directly traced to my love of the cartoon The Wacky Races. Now those were cars! Jesus, they could do anything. They could turn into airplanes, drive over and under water, one of them was a friggin’ tank! And NASCAR can market Danica Patrick all they want, she’ll never be as hot as Penelope Pitstop.
Hong Kong Phooey. What I just said about Wacky Races and auto racing goes double for Hong Kong Phooey and Mixed Martial Arts. What passes for martial arts and fighting today is what my Dad used to refer to as “a whole lot of grab ass.” Now Hong Kong Phooey, that cat brought the karate-chopping mayhem every single Saturday morning. That, my friends was entertainment. For HKP, there was no tapping out. And the guy had a second job, as a janitor! God Bless America.
The Patchwork Family. OK, I admit it, Antonio Cromartie, Shawn Kemp, and countless other prolific procreating athletes have absolutely eclipsed the freewheeling family ideals set forth in this truly miserable CBS New York local show from the early 70s. Let’s just move on and try to forget the numerous transgressions of Rags the puppet (no relation to Dave Righetti).
This Week in Baseball. I loved this show, even if the highlights were over a week old when it aired. In some instances it was a good thing. Your team might have been on a tear the previous week but mired in a losing streak by the time those winning highlights aired, so you could at least have that. Now there is no more This Week in Baseball. There is barely even a This Day in Baseball. It’s more like a this minute, or this second, in baseball and every other sport. There’s an immediacy to everything that allows almost nothing to soak in. There’s no waiting on newspapers or box scores or even at-bats. You get updates now on each and every pitch, pass, and shot from wherever you are. I’m not saying this is terrible, it just takes a little of the imagination and storytelling out of sports. Now it’s “What’s Next?” instead of “What’s Happening?”
Speaking of “What’s Happening?” There’s another Meet The Matts Radio podcast tomorrow, and maybe Walter “The Grinding Ax” Hynes… “Hey, hey, hey.”
P.s… The Matts had some MMA action with Forrest Griffin: