While the rest of the U.S. had a four-day work week, the world of professional sports put in a month’s worth of headlines.  Between walk-off broken legs and “slutty” tennis players, it was one to remember.  So enough with the talk and on to the headlines:

Sam Smithmade a great point this week: this might be the worst Lakers-Celtics match-up in the history of the rivalry - and I tend to agree.  The Lakers have one sure-fire Hall of Famer in Kobe, but that’s about it.  Gasol, Odom, and Artest are nice players, but they’re far from the Magics, Kareems, Worthys and Shaqs that have defined Laker championship teams in the past.  As for Boston, they had a compelling squad two years ago, but after a 23-5 start this season, they literally hobbled to a 27-27 finish.  And in what world does Doc Rivers win two NBA Championships?  And how did I manage to write this much about the NBA playoffs?  I didn’t even watch this game!  Regardless, hardly an awe-inspiring match-up…

After the “napping incident” from three weeks ago, the writing was on the wall for Griffey.  As the last relic of the steroid era, his retirement symbolically restores the balance of power between hitters and pitchers.  While guys like McGwire and Sosa played juiced and put up atmospheric home run totals, Griffey was quietly accumulating legitimate back-to-back 56 homerun seasonsand playing MVP-calibre defense in centerfield.  KGJ will be remembered for a lot of things, but he’s still the only player in the history of Camden Yards to hit the B&O Warehouse in right field on the fly… ever… including batting practice.  That’s elite company right there.  The retirement also affirms that people born before 1980 are old – I still remember this Sports Illustrated sitting on my Dad’s dresser.

All the stories about how professionalJoyce and Galarraga acted in the aftermath of Wednesday’s game are nice to hear, but it doesn’t quite quench my thirst for TNT real-time drama.  I thought we might get something if Bud Selig decided to alter the record books and save the day, but evidently, Bud is no sentimentalist.  Here’s another shocker: Bud dropped the ball.  While overturning calls is usually a bad idea, there’s a unique opportunity here for Air Bud to take a chance and win back some popularity.  Here’s what we have: a clear, unassailable mistake made by the umpire with absolutely no doubt (from anyone) that Galarraga tossed the perfecto.  Selig should use this game as a benchmark and state:

“We’ve decided to use this occasion to institute far-reaching umpire reform that includes instant replay for run-scoring and game-ending plays.  Furthermore, instead of making Galarraga and Joyce suffer, we’re going to retroactively give them the benefit of our new policy and award Galarraga the perfect game.” 

Galarraga and the Tigers get the perfect game, Joyce gets a reprieve, Bud looks proactive (for once) and baseball gets better: everyone wins.  Baseball is a great sport and its rigidity is one of the things that makes fans love it, but seriously, Bud should bend the rules here a little bit. 

And the NFL off-season hit parade continues.  Let me also state that in the real world, if someone steals something from you, you don’t get to take a few weeks off to try and figure it out. 

You almost felt sorry for Trembley because it seemed like he was dying insideeach time the Orioles lost another game.  Media Mob-driven manager firings never made sense to me, especially in this case when no one expected this team to do very much in 2010 anyway.  While the young hitters like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters haven’t really progressed, that’s on hitting coach Terry Crowley, not Trembley.  Unfortunately, this probably means I’m going to lose a bet I placed with a friend that the Orioles would win at least 75 games this year.  I hope he likes cheap bourbon.

Let me make this abundantly clear: I hate Duke.  For oh-so many reasons.  I once wore a Duke Blue Devils hat in 6thgrade to impress my Duke-loving teacher and I’ve never forgiven myself for it.  I know a number of wonderful, intelligent Duke alumni who I consider friends, but I can’t warm up to their alma mater.  With all of that on the table, college basketball needs Coach K.  The ACC, more than ever, needs Coach K.  Maryland, North Carolina, and every other college in the Tar Heel state needs Coach K.  Any team hiring K would also be taking a rather expensive risk: he’s 63 years-old and has never coached in the NBA.  Yes, he’s a great Olympic coach, but last time I checked, Spain and Argentina weren’t exactly operating with a roster full of NBA All-Stars.

When the ACC added Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech 7 years ago, it set a dangerous precedent for future conferences: expand for more cash.  While the ACC may be a more profitable conference because of it, the quality of competition has drastically decreased as well as the athletic profiles of many of its schools.  The Big East, once a beacon of college sports in the northeast, is now a ginormous monstrosity that sucks up crappy football teams at the expense of their basketball programs.  Now, the Pac-10 and Big Ten are waging a battle to see who can build the next “Super Conference” all in the name of making a buck.  Frankly, it sucks.  Bigger isn’t always better - and it’s too bad that schools are herded together like this.  Personally, I blame Notre Dame.

That’s it for this week.  Have a great weekend and say some prayers or do a dance for John Wooden.  He’s a man among men.

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