Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Welcome To The Bizarro Sports World

So let me get this straight: a future Hall of Fame player just opted out of his free agent contract with the Los Angeles Clippers? Yep, that sounds about right. Until I read the next sentence in an article on Elton Brand this morning, which said that he had opted out so that he could sign back with the Clippers for less money, freeing up cash for the team to go out and sign Baron Davis. And then this afternoon Baron Davis agreed to a five-year deal with the Clippers.

And the Tampa Bay Rays are fending off the Boston Red Sox and New York's Other Team for the AL East title. And Venus Williams is cruising through Wimbledon, handling herself with class, sportsmanship and grace. And the Baseball Hall of Fame has turned down the loan of the ball that was hit to break the most popular record in all of sports.

I think that by working on a Wimbledon live TV show and being away in the middle of the night and sleeping all day, I have somehow turned the sports world around backwards. The next thing you know, John Rocker will win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Assuming that this Baron Davis-to-the-Clipper deal happens (he can't sign until July 9), the Clips will be thrust into the big-time like they may never have been in franchise history. They have signed big players before, and granted Davis is a bit past his prime, but he is a superstar, he is from L.A. and he is still very good. As for the starting five (eventually) next year: Davis, Brand, Al Thornton, Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman. Then the bench has Shawn Livingston, Cuttino Mobley, Tim Thomas and DeAndre Jordan. OK, so Thomas is like walking sleep medication; that is a very good team. They are not the favorite or anything crazy because this is still the West, but they are an instant playoff lock (and this is the West!). Note: the painful Corey Maggette era is coming to a end with this signing. He has been a longtime Clipper and played through some terrible times and is a great player, but I am glad to see him go.

The Williams sisters have cruised through Wimbledon so far. They and Roger Federer are the only three people not to have lost a set thus far. While Serena has been her typical self, screeching, gigantic and overpowering, with no personality whatsoever, Venus actually seems to have blossomed into a watch-able, like-able player. I have watched her play in each of her matches, and two doubles matches, and Venus seems to have finally gotten over being that bratty, petulant brat that she has been for all these years. Granted, she is winning perhaps Ms. Hyde just hasn't shown her face yet.

She has an on-paper-tough match on Thursday against Elena Dementieva, the highest remaining seed (5). However, Venus is a terrible matchup for Dementieva because of the Russian's embarrassing bad serve. Venus will stand three steps inside the baseline and hammer returns into the open court all day. Unless Dementieva can answer and break Venus' serve three out of every four times as well, this is another 2-set cruise for Venus. Serena should roll over Zheng as well, but so should everyone else have. However, during Zheng's improbable Semifinal run, she hasn't yet played anyone who is as good as Serena and who is also played well. Ana Ivanovich is better than Serena, but she had played badly at Wimbledon. Serena is crushing the ball. Straight sets. All American final (and I may have someone to root for this time!).

Finally, the MLB Players' Union has filed a grievance saying that Shawn Chacon, formerly of the Astros, was "wrongfully terminated" by the team last week. I am not a lawyer, and I doubt it was actually written in black and white on his contract, but I am pretty sure that when an employee grabs his boss by the neck, throws him to the ground and jumps on top of him, the boss has the legal right to give the employee the boot. It is not as though he was being taunted or personally insulted; he was told he was being sent to the bullpen and Chacon blew up and went Milton Bradley on him! Chacon might be a good guy and this might be the fight time he's ever done anything like this (I don't know), but doing this gets you fired and likely blackballed (unless you are good enough that people will risk it like with Spreewell, which is a whole other issue that saddens and embarrasses me about sports).

No comments: