Thursday, December 13, 2007

Light after the Darkness in Sports...

With the Mitchell report mere hours from release, a lot of fans are sweating out how many of their beloved superstars will be named (or unnamed).

Sadly, this will likely be one of the darker days in recent sporting history.
At least as far as Major League Baseball is concerned.

Yet, even if the Mitchell Investigation only names names – and lacks true punishment outside of public contempt – it’s going to be just another sounding boom against sports.

Things haven’t been so peachy lately for more than just Dolphins fans.

Credit: ViewImages

Shaun Taylor’s death, the Phins chasing 0-16, the ‘Spygate scandal, overhyped boxing pay-per-view showdowns, STEROIDS in baseball, the New York Knicks, inflated payrolls and paychecks, Bryant Gumble on the NFL Network, the nauseating pro-Brady love of Phil Simms, the sickening love John Madden has for his boo (Brett Favre), Chris Berman in general, weekly talk of cheap-shots in the NFL (Terrance Newman the latest), Greg Oden’s pre-season injury, hockey being relegated to the VS. network, the writer’s strike (repeats of primetime shows during commercials of games is NOT good), and on and on.

Point is: sports is taking more than a few shots to the body.

The knockout isn’t looming, but it’s only a few rounds away.

However, I’m taking a stand. In fact, you might say I’m protecting sports with a stiff left jab. Maybe even a right cross. Why? Because there’s still hope. Somewhere, somehow.

Let’s tackle 4 sports, at least endearing to my heart, that could be saved…

National Football League
Divisional-Round Playoffs
Imagine this lineup two weeks into the playoffs…
Seattle @ Green Bay (Let’s just hope Hasselbeck and the Hawks get it into OT again.)

Minnesota @ Dallas [The 6th seed rolls into Big D for a re-match with a healthy A-Pete/Taylor combo at RB.)
San Diego @ New England (Take 2 for LT, Merriman, and Norv in Foxboro against a 16-0 team.)

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis (Take 2 for the Colts at home in the playoffs against Big Ben and Polamalu.)

Major League Baseball: Johan Santana to the Yankees, Dan Haren to the Red Sox
While the constant Yanks/Sox talk is completely overblown and overdone, if you’re going to do it…do it right. The Yanks ship Hughes/Cabrera/prospects to the Twins for the 2-time Cy Young winner. Ditto for the Sox sending Lester/Crisp/prospects to the A’s for Haren. Jacoby stays in CF at Fenway.

Here are your new rotations…
Red Sox: Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Dan Haren, Daisuke Matsuzake, Tim Wakefield
Yankees: Johan Santana, Chien Ming-Wang, Andy Pettite, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy

National Basketball Association
: The Heat make a playoff PUSH

Anybody else intrigued by this potential playoff matchup?

Eastern Conference:
#1. Boston vs. #8. Miami

Oh yeah, dismantle the Knicks and rebuild from scratch. Ban both owner James Dolan and Coach Thomas from MSG, too. FOREVER!

: Free fights...sort of.

While Mayweather/Hatton proved to be more hype than hope, at least HBO’s 24/7 program is worth every penny. In fact, it’s the only reason since the Sopranos left to check out HBO (outside of The Wire, of course).

Long story short, HBO Boxing (not PPV) needs five fights:

1) Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe.
2) Kenny Pavlik vs. Jermaine Taylor
3) Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto

4) Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ricky Hatton

5) Heavyweight unification: Whatever it takes.

It’s not an end-all solution, but it’s a start.

Until next time…

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