Let me first say that the Internet was finally connected at my residence the other day and my wife and I haven't spoken since. I'm kidding, but that first night we both sat five feet from each other and joyfully surfed the Web for probably four hours without ever once glancing over to see what the other was doing. We endured 37 days of no Internet at home and believe me when I say that this experience could have made one heckuva reality television show.
There'll be no beating around the bush this week so let's get to Imus Gate and then move on with our lives. I can't say I'm surprised by his firing although I disagree with it. I also disagree that his comments were hurtful and that they "ruined" the dreams of the Rutgers players but I do agree that there is no place for such commentary in our society. Even though I was raised in the whole sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me camp, what Imus said in no way can be construed as funny, amusing, entertaining, etc. His comments were ignorant, demeaning, racist and sexist. Still, I can't help but feel sorry for the Scarlet Nights players because they have been exploited to the nth degree by everyone from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to their own head coach. These young, educated, highly motivated and successful woman have been paraded in front of television cameras from the onset and been asked to explain and voice their feelings in front of a world audience on an issue that as Jason Whitlock described, "a mole hill that's been made into Mount Everest." That, to me, is the real tragedy. Using these women for personal political gain, promotion and grandstanding is a joke that is much sadder than the futile one Imus attempted to make. In the end, Imus was fired and the Rutgers women's basketball team, according to reports, has forgiven him. That's great, but have we as a society grown in a positive way from this – perhaps a smidgeon, but certainly not as much as we could have.
Kobe the Great scored 50 points last night in a loss to the Clippers. This was Mamba's ninth game this season with 50 or more. It looks like Kobe finally got his wish. He's now an offensive dynamo. Too bad for the Lakers, though, as they are now about as far from contending for a world title as they were since…hmm…those early Kobe years before Shaq arrived.
Joining Imus on the, Boy-Am-I-Having-a-Bad-Week List is Gus Dominguez. Gus was convicted on Thursday of smuggling Cubans into the United States and I'm not talking cigars here. Gus was a middling sports agent who made it a practice of smuggling potential major-league caliber baseball players out of Cuba and then harboring them in the U.S. for profit. While Tony Montana would be proud, the judge in the case will probably not be as impressed with Gus' shenanigans come sentencing on July 9.
Minnesota's Torii Hunter questioned earlier this week if it was necessary for some teams to have their entire roster wear Jackie Robinson's number this Sunday. The gesture is in honor of the 60th Anniversary of Robinson donning a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey for the first time. Um, I know Hunter is no Imus but seriously, no tribute will ever be big enough to Robinson and his family for the sacrifices he and they made during his courageous life. So, I guess what I'm saying here is yes Torii, it is necessary.
While on the subject of baseball, how about those Arizona Wildcats? The men's baseball team is 28-6 on the season and ranked 12th in the latest USA Today/ESPN Coach's poll. More impressively, the Wildcats have won 14-straight and have opened Pac-10 play with sweeps over both Oregon State and Cal. During the streak, Arizona is 4-0 against Top-25 teams and 5-0 in 1-run games (9-0 on the season). The winning streak is the longest in Division I this season.
Congratulations to retired UA baseball skipper Jerry Kindall for being inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. His 860 wins over a 24-year career at Arizona helped put the Wildcats program on the map and his national championship titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986 helped keep us there. What I like most about Kindall is he knew how to spread out the national titles so that fans didn't ever get too spoiled from winning or too sour from losing.
Arizona's football team had the eighth toughest schedule in the nation last year when all was said and done. For the upcoming season, early indications are that Arizona's schedule will be somewhere around the 49th most difficult. What does this exactly mean? I have a prediction but I'm not sharing it now.
I thought QB Willie T had lost about 20 pounds from last season and I was right. This obviously is not breaking news but after watching Willie play with what seemed like glue paper stuck to his cleats last season, I'm pleased to see that he has taken the onus upon himself to improve his foot speed by not getting smaller, but by getting leaner.
Back when my Expos were actually called the Expos, they were at least good enough to keep things interesting until after Mother's Day. Now, the Expos, disguised as the Washington Nationals, have the worst record in baseball and lead the league in errors two weeks into the season. Oh well, I guess I'll have to start rooting for the Dodgers then – Not!
Hammerin' Hank was recently quoted as saying that he would not be calling Barry Bonds to congratulate him for breaking the home run record when…err…if it happens. In a week of ridiculous statements being made by all sorts of personalities, I again have to question why Aaron would say something like this. Records are meant to be broken and whether you agree or disagree with how your record is broken, statements like that of Aaron make this Hall of Famer seem bitter. By the way, Hank, here's to a miserable Friday the 13th. Bonds already has two home runs tonight in Pittsburgh and it's only the 4th inning.
So, the winner of the Who's Having the Worst Friday the 13th Contest goes to the current Home Run King, Mr. Aaron. I say this because despite Imus' firing, I think he'll find solace in retirement from the public eye by sleeping comfortably with a bank account somewhere in the tens, if not hundreds of millions. As for Kobe, last night's loss to the cross town rival Clippers is no big deal. He scored 50 points remember. The Nationals are so bad I myself have eliminated them from the competition in the short time it's taken me to write this article.
That leaves only the Rutgers basketball team and Gus Dominguez.
I'm betting that if Gus could figure out how to smuggle Cubans into the United States, he can probably figure out a way to slip past our Customs Officers on his way to some country that does not recognize our country's extradition laws. This is just a guess, but according to the press covering the story, Gus was released on bail until his sentencing in July so we'll have to wait and see.
For Rutgers, you have my sympathies for being dragged through the mud by society but it's time to face reality and understand that words, especially those of a shock jock, should in no way affect "your dreams." Besides, I've been called a pasty-white, bald guy by many a player on the basketball court in my day and those were comments made to my face – not on some has been radio show as a third person reference. So, please, do yourself a favor and tune out those evil forces whispering hatred in your ear and go become the successful doctors and lawyers you desire to be. More importantly, pursue your dreams because despite what society tells you, the simple truth is this – we are all only as limited as our own imaginations.
Have a great week and Bear Down, everyone! I'll be at the Long Beach Grand Prix this weekend if you need me.