Musings on a muggy Monday night here in New York while the Yanks enjoy an off day…
—Can everyone PLEASE stop talking about Tim Tebow?? He is, in sum, a former elite college football player (made in part by Urban Meyer’s system and the plethora of Gator talent around him) who enjoyed an extraordinarily lucky string of victories in Denver, culminating with a game-winning playoff OT touchdown that only occurred because Dick LeBeau didn’t believe Tebow could throw it accurately 20 yards down the field. Since then, he’s started zero games and made about a million headlines for the Jets. Today, reports surfaced that he is headed to New England, where he will either be cut before the regular season starts or be a non-factor/clipboard holder. Yet there he was, plastered all over SportsCenter like he’s the free-agent splash of the offseason. Apparently, being an attractive white evangelical earnest soft-spoken well-below-average quarterback is more important that actually being good at football. At least that’s what the Nielsen ratings say. Enough already.
—Rafael Nadal’s dominance of the French Open is the single most amazing feat in sports over the past decade. The numbers (which honestly don’t do justice to the beauty of Nadal on red clay) are beyond unfathomable. Career French Open record: 59-1. Times an opponent has taken even TWO sets off him at Roland Garros: three. No additional comment necessary.
—Maybe it’s because I’m so fiercely defensive of the gap between Mariano Rivera and everyone else, but I absolutely love when in vogue closers crash and burn. Two years ago, Jose Valverde saved 49-of-49 chances; last year, he went 35-f0r-40 and lost his closer job during the playoffs. Last year, Francisco Rodney went 48-for-50 and amused everyone with his postgame archery antics. This year, he’s just 13-for-18, and Monday night he gave up two runs in the top of the 10th to Boston only to get bailed out by the failure of Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey. There can be only one.
—HBO breaking the third book of A Song of Ice and Fire into two seasons for Game of Thrones is smart — 10 episodes were hardly enough to get through half the book. But what will the network do for Book 5, A Dance With Dragons? It’s far longer than Book 3 and much more convoluted. Three seasons might not be enough.
—Thank goodness for LeBron’s ridiculous block of Tiago Splitter in Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Now when basketball programs show an iconic block from the Finals, it won’t be Hakeem Olajuwon’s rejection of John Starks’ potential championship-winning shot for the Knicks in Game 6 of the 1994 Finals. Starks gets pilloried for his 2-for-18 performance in Game 7, but in Game 6 he led the Knicks with 27 points and would have been deified in New York had he made that shot. Instead it’s been 40 years and counting for the Knicks. Alas.