Sunday, July 09, 2006

Take five

1. Before the World Cup final, Zinedine Zidane figured to be remembered as one of soccer's all-time greats, a magician with the ball and one of the leaders of the French team that won the Cup in 1998.

His legacy took a change in course in this year's final. Zidane was given a red card for a stunning foul in overtime against Italy. He ran up to an opposing player and butted him with his head into the chest.

Let's see. It's overtime of the biggest sporting event of the planet. You are a great penalty-kick performer. And you pick that moment to get kicked out of the game?

This makes Phil Mickelson's decision to go for the green on his second shot at 18 last month seem downright brilliant. I can't wait until someone makes a list of all-time stupid actions in sports, because it has company.

2. Speaking of Mickelson, think there will be a few eyes on him during the British Open? Especially on Sunday?

3. It's difficult to get NBA news while visiting Glacier National Park. The story about Michael Jordan working for Charlotte slipped by me for a while.

Good thing his name is Michael Jordan. Because if his name were Henry Finkel or Hawthorne Wingo or Kurt Rambis, he might not have gotten another chance. When Jordan ran the Washington Wizards, he was rarely even in town and made several odd personnel decisions. Abe Pollin couldn't wait to get rid of him once his playing days were over.

Michael is smart and he knows plenty about basketball, but this has a chance to be a disaster.

4. It's difficult to make the baseball all-star game attractive to the public, since it is at heart just an exhibition game. But how tough would it be to make two small rules changes:

a. Drop the requirement that every team have a representative.
b. Use the designated hitter.

You'd have the best players, and be less likely to run out of them in the late innings. Get to work, Mr. Selig.

5. This probably deserves its own column, but one of our radio hosts in Buffalo came up with an idea that struck me as interesting: come up with a description that could be used for both an athlete and a rock star/band.

Let's see -- big star, easy Hall of Famer, had a couple of lapses but was generally great for a long, long time: Roger Clemens/Bruce Springsteen.

Pioneer in his field, revolutionized the game, had some personal problems including some weight gain, died too early: Elvis Presley/Babe Ruth.

Maybe not a Hall of Famer, but very good for a long time, showed up all the time, appreciated by those in the know: Dwight Evans/Rush.

This could consume me for days. So I'll quit now.

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