The most bizarre story being bandied about by the national media concerns a possible comeback by Michael Jordan.
It would be absolutely ridiculous for Jordan to resurrect his playing career. Anyone - and this includes Jordan himself - who thinks that a recycled Jordan would be vintage Jordan is suffering from a grand delusion. There’s no doubt that a Jordan return would generate interest in the NBA, something the stagnant league could use.
But Jordan was already past his prime when he staged his second retirement. (The first came when he tried his skill at professional baseball.) Jordan at his best would be hard-pressed to turn the Washington Wizards into a contender much less a championship team.
And bear in mind that a young, up-and-coming Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls for seven seasons before they won a championship. Jordan’s fame is secure. Trying to play again would only tarnish his luster.
The Kentucky Derby is next Saturday, May 5 and the most obvious point about it is that the Bob Baffert-trained Point Given will go postward as the favorite - and at a short price. The final three major Derby preps proved little except that the Keeneland and Aqueduct ovals have a definite speed bias. Although the Arkansas Derby attracted a bunch of steeds that had no business in graded stakes races, Balto Star turned in such a dominating performance as to merit serious consideration in the Run for the Roses.
One horse that this handicapper is tossing out is Monarchos. That huge move he made in the Florida Derby was exaggerated because everything else in the race stopped running after seven furlongs. He won’t get anything at Churchill Downs”¦
The racing comeback story of the year has to be Laffit Pincay Jr. He had his first Derby mount back in 1971 and he won the race aboard Swale in 1984. But in recent years mounts were hard to come by. But this year Pincay was the leading rider at Santa Anita, and he has his first Derby mount in seven years. And it’s a live one - Millennium Wind, the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes.
On the Air
ESPN can be absolutely magnificent in some things. Cutting in live to the ninth inning of Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter and to Barry Bonds’ quest for his 500th career home run are actions that place ESPN miles ahead of its chief competitors, Fox Sports and CNN/SI.
And not to overlook the fact that in Jon Miller and Joe Morgan ESPN has the best baseball broadcasting team in the business.
Unfortunately, ESPN has had a deleterious effect on local television sportscasts. Every kid coming out of college wants to get on ESPN and so makes his sportscast an imitation of ESPN in the hope that a talent scout for Sports Center will take notice.
But the tyros have neither the wit nor the background knowledge to make it work and the result is some awful local television sportscasts.
No Winners or Losers
After this past weekend’s NFL draft, the draft gurus, led by the overbearing Mel Kiper Jr., analyzed each team’s selections and told us which teams did well and which teams did not. It’s all a lot of hot air. There are no winners or losers in the NFL draft because the draft is not a contest. Essentially it’s a guessing game more than a scientific exercise. The teams that did well in the draft are those that picked useful players in the late rounds. But we won’t know about that till much later. Most of the players will never be heard from again. Their proverbial 15 minutes of fame will have passed.
Much About Nothing
With much fanfare, the NBA announced some rules changes for next season, the principal one being that teams will be permitted to employ zone defenses. That’s a joke. Teams have been using illegal defenses for years with the officials making only occasional calls.
A Different Season
The National Hockey League playoffs are known as the second season.
It most certainly is a different season because it’s a different game. Penalties that are called during the regular season become non-calls during the playoffs.
In the final analysis, the factor that counts most in winning the Stanley Cup is goaltending. That’s why a mediocre shooting team like the Buffalo Sabres have a chance with Dominik Hasek in the net.