No gossip, no idle chat, just the brass tacks of sports. Let’s hit it.
The Stanley Cup. The 2005-2006 NHL season – which I still think is only a rumor – is apparently winding down, as the Edmonton Oilers will face off against the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night in whichever Carolina the Hurricanes play in. Wow, Edmonton-Carolina! I’m sure the suits at the NHL headquarters are really happy about this marquee match up, as are the 27 fans outside of these two cities that follow the NHL. And I’m equally as sure that ESPN is bumming that they lost out to the Outdoors Life Network on the rights to televise this instant classic.
The NBA Finals. Two words. Miami-Dallas. No, not two of the most humid cities in the States. No, not the match up of Super Bowl VI. Miami-Dallas, you know the Heat versus the Mavericks for the NBA Championship. Shaq goes against Dirk, Pat Riley’s hair against the elements, Mark Cuban versus everybody. Doesn’t that get you going? At least it’s a better match up than Edmonton-Carolina. Isn't it?
Albert Pujols. Baseball’s best player suffered a strained oblique muscle Saturday against the injury-plagued Cubs and was immediately put on the 15-day disabled list. The Cubs are so jinxed that not only are their own star players hurt, the star players that they come in contact with are also getting hurt. If the Cubs were coming into town to play my team, I’d go with all of my bench players just in case.
The oblique muscle is located on the side of your abdomen, and for any athlete an injury to this muscle could cause a lot of problems, especially for a baseball player. The Cardinals are hoping that their luck is better than the Cubs, and that Pujols will be back in a couple of weeks.
The Jinxed Cubs. Chronically injured Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood missed his last turn in the rotation because of tightness in his surgically repaired right shoulder. Early reports say this is not a big deal and that Wood won’t miss his next turn in the rotation. But anyone who follows baseball knows that a set back like this for a guy like this is always a big deal.
Meanwhile Mark Prior, the Cubs other injured stud starter, pitched well and without injury in a minor league game this weekend, thus giving the Cubs some hope.
The “Bad” Bengals. Chris Henry, a wide receiver with one year in the NFL under his belt, was arrested this past weekend for the third time since December. Henry is quite a fast learner, as most NFL players don’t get arrested for the third time until they have at least three years experience. But seriously, Henry was a problem child in college and because of this, he dropped down in the NFL draft. Now he’s proving to be a problem adult. In December Henry was arrested for – and pled guilty to – possession of marijuana. In January he was arrested on a felony gun charge after getting into a tiff outside of a Florida nightclub; and to complete the trifecta he got collared the other night for driving while intoxicated in Ohio. The January gun charge is very serious, and Henry could face jail time if convicted.
Marvin Lewis, the Bengals head coach, and the rest of the Bengals organization needs to get rid of this kid ASAP.
Oh and this just in, Bengals fifth-round draft pick A.J. Nicholson was arrested this weekend and charged with burglarizing the apartment of a former Florida State teammate. Nicholson is another criminal-in-the-making. He was sent home during the Seminoles preparation for the Orange Bowl because he was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year old girl.
And a year ago Nicholson had to be subdued by a Taser gun shot by the Tallahassee police after he was seen running through an under-construction apartment complex. Nicholson was fleeing from other officers who had tried to eject him from a nightclub because of disorderly conduct and drinking violations. And at the time Nicholson was already enrolled in a pretrial intervention program for a driving under the influence charge from February of 2005.
I’m sick of hearing about how these are all isolated incidents, and that boys will be boys, and all of that crap. If the Bengals have any sense of responsibility they’ll cut Nicholson before he can even get to training camp.
Ricky Williams. The drug-addled and drug-suspended former Dolphin running back had seven yards on just four carries in his CFL debut Friday night. You heard it here first: Williams will be a bust in the CFL and you will never see Ricky Williams playing on an NFL field again.
Barry Bonds. I remember when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record. He sprinted up to and past 714, as Aaron hit 40 dingers in 1973 the year before breaking Ruth’s record. He hit 20 more longballs in 1974 bringing his total to 733 before moving back to Milwaukee to finish his career. And while Henry slowed down quite a bit as he aged from 40 to 41, he never looked decrepit and certainly never embarrassed himself.
Bonds, on the other hand, has been a liability in the field and on the base paths. He’s turned singles into extra base hits in the outfield, and has been thrown out at first from right field on what would be hits for anyone else. His power is gone and he will be lucky to hit 18 home runs this year. He’s not helping his team; he’s just chasing a record. And he’s looking bad while doing it.
I’m sure there will be lots of exciting action in the coming week, so keep checking in to get the latest.