A later links package than usual. Sorry, but someone was tired and that King of The Hill where Hank and Peggy play on the same softball team was on last night.
- That R.E.M. line about how, "Withdrawal in disgust is not apathy," applied to watching the Raptors against the Orlando Magic in their playoff opener yesterday.
Less than five minutes in, Orlando was shooting 7-for-7 and had opened a 10-point lead. T.J. Ford had already belched up a couple of bricks. There was no point in watching much more. There's always next season.
- Did Tim McCarver really draw a parellel between a baseball manager and the Confederate generals from the Civil War? Yes, he did.
Apologies for not getting to this sooner, but it did happen on the broadcast of a National League game, which isn't real baseball.
- Slate, which would argue with an echo, seems to have a winner with their 10 Dumbest Trends in Sports series. Neal Pollack's passionate plea to "please stop the meaningless sports rankings, power polls and 'MVP races' " is a tough act to follow.
The Internet demands frequently updated content, and lists and rankings are incredibly easy to put together and require no original thought. There's no need to come up with a new idea every week: Just shuffle a few teams or players around, write a one-sentence caption, and you're ready to publish. Maybe people really care about this stuff, and sports sites are simply fulfilling our desire to assign rankings ... I'd prefer to think we're getting our sports fix from these columns because nobody bothers to writes about anything else.
- Cracked's "How To Make Your Own Judd Apatow Movie" is worth a read. It doesn't take away from the enjoyment of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Kristin Bell's titular character would have easily fit in among the females at a certain upper-crust Ontario university.
- The NHL trying to squelch the Detroit Red Wings' octopus tradition. It's a total about-face from last year, when the New York Times did a light-hearted feature story on Al Sobotka, the designated octopi picker-upper.
"The N.H.L. has hardly considered penalizing Sobotka.The Times went to town on the NHL for its ignorance, especially that claptrap about matter flying off the octopi and sticking to the ice. (Who knows, maybe the NHL is trying to pander to the Red States where they've banned teaching science.)
"Frank Brown, the league's vice president for media relations, said: 'Every so often, an octopus slips out of someone's hands, and Al is right there to take care of the matter. And he cannot be blamed if, as it tries to break free from Al's grasp, the octopus lifts Al's arm and twirls itself in the air.”
- There's been a post percolating for weeks about one of the great Canadian sports conundrums.
Tons of hockey-loving, hoops-indifferent sports fans go gaga for March Madness. They get on the bandwagon when a team such as Davidson goes deep into the tournament. The same folks, however, completely check out of following major junior hockey once the local team is knocked out.
It's pretty much the same vibe -- young players, full of piss and vinegar, laying it all on the line. They don't seem tainted by commercialism, since precious little of the proceeds of that commercialism gets shared with them. Yet no one in hockey-mad Canada cares much outside of the communities whose teams are still alive. You'd have to hunt around on the three sports networks' websites to find anything about the playoffs in the Ontario, Quebec and Western leagues.
The small thinkers who run the major junior leagues, though, probably believe there's they need to play four best-of-seven series to determine a league champion. That's when teams make their money and that's what the NHL does.
The Belleville Bulls are up 2-0 in their OHL semi-final series vs. John Tavares and Oshawa with Game 3 tonight. There's plenty of 613 rooting interest -- Kingston native Josh Godfrey on the Soo Greyhounds; Ben Shutron of Orleans with the Kitchener Rangers -- but see how far a conversation about the OHL playoffs goes with anyone.
- Taylor Hall is awesome.
- Entertainment Weekly included Friday Night Lights' Dillon High School among the best fictional high schools. Where's the Degrassi love?
That's all for now. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.