Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Predict (Not What I Want)

I predict that the Los Angeles Lakers will win Game Six of their first-round playoff series against my Phoenix Suns. Meaning that in the next round, the NBA, the TV networks and the news media will get their All-La-La-Land Series.

Why will this happen? Because the officiating in the NBA is about as objective and impartial as the judging in figure skating. Most WWF Smackdown matches have more surprising results. The league just pretty much figures out which matchups would be best for their almighty TV ratings, and the refs blow their whistles accordingly.

It doesn't matter how much better the Suns may happen to play in Game Six. They will be robbed in the end.

I stopped being much of an NBA fan a long time before the advent of the WNBA. I got tired of all the corrupt officiating and the temper-tantrums from the players. The league wants to pull in every drunken half-wit it can get into its arenas, so it's been dumbing down the game for years.

Even though I usually have to thumb all the way back to the last couple of pages of the sports section to find the WNBA news (mustn't give anybody a masculinity crisis by having the ladies' stories too prominently-placed), it is usually well worth it. No more is the news of my favorite players riddled with criminal reports. In following the WNBA, I no longer need to wonder what player will be arrested next for trashing a barroom, trying to sneak a gun onto a plane or raping a twelve-year-old kid.

Sooner or later, the same B.S. that's sinking the NBA will probably get to the WNBA, too. Scapegoating Phoenix Mercury coach Carrie Graf for the fact that the team failed to reach the playoffs last year was one of the most chickenshit managerial moves I've ever seen. We didn't make the playoffs, for a record number of years, because Seth Sulka can't keep the players in town for a whole season. Blaming Graf was the most ignoble thing I've seen from the Mercury front office since they failed to sign Jennifer Gillom for her last season -- letting her sign, instead, with the L.A. Sparks.

The Sparks?! A team everybody in Phoenix hates?! Getting a Mercury legend, in what would have been her last year in the league? What a bunch of boneheads they've got in their front office.

Sports are NOT "just" a business. Rather, I should say, yes, they are a business -- but they're one of those commercial enterprises nobody wants to think of as strictly a commercial enterprise. In their slavish devotion to the bottom line, a pro sports team's management would be wise to be at least slightly less crassly money-grubbing than the average Evangelical megachurch.

And if they don't put the banners for Jen Gillom and Michele Timms back up in America West Arena this year (oh, 'scuse it's the U.S. Airways Center), THIS longtime season ticket holder is gonna demand to know the reason why.

Even if all they want to do is hold us upside-down until they've emptied all the money out of our pockets, the bigshots in the front offices of our favorite teams might at least have the good grace to PRETEND they care about us.


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