OKAY, SPORTS FANS, we're coming up to that time of year when lots and lots of things happen all at the same time, and some of them are even interesting. Others make me start counting the days until the start of football season. It's up to you to determine which is which.
In the next few weeks, we will have:
The Opening of Major-League Baseball Season. So what? Nobody cares. Baseball sucks. It committed suicide last year before an apathetic public could do it for them.
Baseball starts next week, coming off the first canceled World Series in 90 years. Greed killed the Series, greed killed the off-season, and just for good measure, greed killed the first three weeks of this season. And it's even money (just say that word and baseball players all over the country start salivating like the Pavlovian semi-athletes that they are) that greed will chop off the back end of this season, as well.
Some of the players are making noises about mending fences with the fans, but San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds is undoubtedly saying out loud what a lot of players are thinking. In an interview, Bonds was asked about reaching out to the fans. He said that he wouldn't, and added, "Hey, you like me or you don't. That's me. What're you gonna do, blame me?"
Who, us? Blame you? No, Barry, we just hope your ex-wife gets all your money and that porn star who slapped you with a paternity suit maybe passed along a (non-life-threatening) sexually-transmitted disease or two. Give you something to scratch out there in left field.
Plus, there's a decent chance that your Giants could finish last this year behind the Dodgers, Padres and even the Rockies. I hope so, but I'll never know because I won't be following the baseball season.
The NBA Playoffs. This is just too good. It may be the most exciting set of playoffs in the history of the league. I'll look at this next week to give it the coverage it so richly deserves as the sport with the best athletes in the world and the only American pro sport never to have a work stoppage. These days, you can't ask for more than that.
The Kentucky Derby. Don't you just love this one? Two hundred thousand rich white people gather in (ahem) Kentucky, all wearing new spring hats and drinking something I'm told tastes like Cepacol. They watch some horse races and then all go back to the United States.
Two journalistic themes will be done to death this year. One of the favorites, Larry The Legend, was purchased at an auction for $2,500, prompting the line from trainer Craig Lewis: "I've never met a horse yet that knew how much he cost." The horse is named not for Larry Bird, but rather for Lewis' brother, who helped coach the Long Beach (CA) Little League team to back-to-back titles at the Little League World Series.
That's a nice story. The other will drive you crazy. The other favorite, Afternoon Deelites, is owned by Burt Bacharach, the absolute king of '60s Muzak. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of clichéd leads featuring Bacharach song titles in stories from the Kentucky Derby.
If Deelites is near the lead at the end, will he just "Walk On By?" If the track is muddy, will we hear "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head?" And when they put him out to stud, will we hear "The Look of Love?" If it's the Dusty Springfield version, I sincerely hope so.
Anyway, all of the journalists will be jockeying (so to speak) to come up with the best Bacharach song reference. In my book, the hands-down winner will be the one who manages to work in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
NHL Playoffs. The National Hockey League playoffs will feature more men with their front teeth missing than the Spinks family reunion.
Plus the playoffs could stretch into July! Oh, this should be good. The idiots who play hockey whined about money and, as a result, didn't start their season until January. They'll play half a regular season, then drag the playoffs into monsoon time. Fortunately, nobody here in the United States cares about hockey, so we won't have to worry about it cluttering up the sports pages and taking space away from important things like the NBA draft and NFL training camp notes.
The Indianapolis 500. Hey, this is special. Five hundred thousand people, all named Jim Bob and/or Earl, descend on the capital of Indiana to drink beer and watch cars race. If these folks ever happen to burp all at once, they'll blow a hole in the ozone layer big enough to make Terra Haute the Skin Cancer Capital of the World.
There are lots of other things coming up, like the French Open in tennis. This is where French player Guy Forget (which is actually pronounced hard G-ee For-zhay) says, "Tennis is like war. We never win at either one."
I don't know about you, but I just can't wait.
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