Archive for May, 2009

Month o’ the Underdog

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Lower body injury, of course WORD(S) OF THE DAY: terminological inexactitude (Source: commentator during a recent, NHL semi-finals game) – refers to the lack of precise information hockey teams provide to media to describe a player’s injury, lest it be used against said injured player, thus ending participation in his team’s run for the Stanley Cup.

THIS JUST IN: A Stanley Cup champion himself, former Rangers goaltender and recent Yale graduate Mike Richter tells me of this year’s NHL playoffs,

My late prediction is and was Redwings from the West.  I thought that they would make it to the finals and actually thought Pitt was pretty darn good.  I was hoping for Capitals as i am a huge Ovechkin fan but no one seems to have the depth and discipline of the Wings.

WHO CARES: Completely unrelated, i’ve been thinking, since when did it cease to be a joyful thing for the underdog to win?

How did it come to be that when someone / someanimal wins against all odds, it’s labeled “bad for the sport”?

In the Central Hockey League the Texas Brahmas, a team that’s struggled mightily to stay in the League at all, defeated Colorado for the Championship for the first time in Brahma history.

Texas proud Way to go Texas!

Arizona won last year but before that, Colorado and Laredo monopolized the Championship round four consecutive years and despite losing, Colorado managed its NYankee-ish appearance in the final round even these past two seasons.

Doesn’t it deter fan interest to have a predictable result of Colorado in the final round each season? Is it not a thrill to see what has historically been an underdog finally enjoy a slice of victory pie?

GIDDYUP: Partially quoting Rick Wright of the Albuquerque Journal, who quoted T.J. Simers of the LA Times about Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird (from New Mexico, BTW):

The sport received another death blow Saturday…. The 50-1 long shot, Mine That Bird, made for a nice one-day story, but ruins any lingering interest in the… overall Triple Crown.”

Seriously?

Anyone who knows anything about sports could predict the likelihood of another story snapping into the foundation of what would have been the original one, should it topple. Sure enough, sizeable filly Rachel Alexander caused quite a stir even before she dusted the rest of the field for an exciting Preakness Stakes win. Phew! Luckily, i allowed my interest to “linger” all of the couple days before that storyline revealed itself.

Back when Carolina won the Stanley Cup in 2006, it was asserted no one cared. I understand why less people cared passionately. Carolina isn’t a historical hot bed of hockey. Still, it seems worth the overall benefit to expand interest beyond historical hotbeds and attract a broader fan base for the long-term effect over the immediate financial bonus to the same ol’ clubs (they might argue otherwise).

It wasn’t a fluke, either. Carolina made it to the semi-finals this season. As for this year, the Red Wings are older guys a year older and the Penguins are younger guys with another year’s worth experience….

AND ANOTHER THING: To anti-fans who say there aren’t enough goals in hockey, the counter-point was made during Game 5, Chicago vs. Detroit, when the score was tied 1-1 before heading into overtime. The gist of it was, if you’re the type of person who likes a high score, you missed a great game. I’ll add you were missing some wicked sick saves – a few that were as exciting as goals for sure. Huet had been studying Brodeur’s Magic 501 (grad-level!) DVDs to make this leg pad save. Yup. That puck was blocked by Huet lifting his foot. Saw it all the way.

SCANDALOUS: I’ve said it before and those who know me know i repeat myself: Cycling is one of the best platforms for gossip and scandal.

Now now, boys Any sport in which the commentators use the term argy-bargy to describe the bickering antics of the athletes is worth paying attention to.

Tom Boonen has been partying like the rock star status his native Belgium has bestowed on him. Busted for cocaine a second time, Boonen is not invited to the Tour de France this year and will instead attend to rehab-type activities. Remind anyone of anybody? (Ulrich. Dude is racing cars now.)

Then you have Armstrong the Great and Levi Leipheimer’s team Astana, which is competing in the Giro d’Italia without sponsorship. In other words, riders aren’t being paid. Lance has taken it upon himself to seek a new sponsor but in his free time, he’s doing some fun stuff on the Livestrong Web site – team bus interviews with popular riders and such.

Where in the world is Alberto these days? Ah, in the Alps, training for the Tour de France of course. Good thing, ’cause it’s looking like Levi has peaked already and Lance, well, we’ll just have to wait to see.

The Giro ends May 31st. If you catch this post in time, you can watch the final stages live (they tend to finish around 9:30am-ish) on Universal Sports, since Versus couldn’t afford the broadcast rights this year.