Monday, May 4, 2009

Twenty-Two Birthday Wishes for the Sporting World ... masquerading as yet another Case of the Mondays

A belated Double Deuce - er, double dose - of swine-flu-free Mile High Musings, comprised of 22 wishes I made on my birthday last Sunday or sometime since…

I wish people would stop throwing newspapers on their deathbeds. The business model is broken, sure. But the world will always need watchdogs, always need political writers, always need football beat writers, always need movie critics, and always need their crossword, comics and Sudoku. So blogs are gonna take over, huh? Most blogs couldn’t exist without the information ascertained from real journalists.

Maybe newspapers won’t be in the form of rolled-up broadsheets which double as flyswatters or birdcage liners, but online newspapers are still newspapers nonetheless. So cry for your paperboy, but nothing else. Saying that aspiring journalists should give up because of expiring newspapers is like saying that the music industry was dead when records gave way to compact discs, and then to mp3 files. Same product, different format.

I wish someone would explain the allure of Twitter to me. Isn’t it basically Facebook’s status updates…and that’s it? Oh, so you can garner “subscribers” in some sort of self-competitive nature. Uh, same motivation as gobbling up Facebook “friends”, right? So Twitter basically stole 2 percent of the things you can do on Facebook, and is operating a multi-million dollar business off of it? No thanks. I gave in to Facebook (not that it took that much persuasion) and I gave in to blogging (obviously); I don’t see myself ever giving in to Twitter. Tweet that, why don’t you.

I wish the NBA creates a flopping foul in the next two years. And it counts as two personals on your way to six and fouling out. Like a technical: the opposing team gets two throws and the ball. I’m sick of watching players get barely touched, only to instinctively throw their hands up in the air like those Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Waving Tube Men.

I wish Curt Phillips wins the starting gig this fall over Dustin Sherer. Nothing wrong with Dustin, he’s a nice kid and an improving player, but for the long-term sake of the program, Wisconsin football needs to get at least a half-season’s worth of starts out of the Tennessee dual-threat product.

I wish baseball were a wee bit more predictable. As I wake up on Monday morning, I look at the standings and see four division leaders (Toronto, Kansas City, Seattle and St. Louis) that finished in fourth place last season; besides, of the seven teams that sit three games or more above .500, only the Dodgers and Red Sox played in October last season.

But hey, at least I nailed Matt Holliday as the most overrated player in MLB. And my fantasy team is back to .500. So things aren’t all bad. Of course, Matty H is on said fantasy team. Oh well.

I wish to change my preseason playoff picks: Toronto, Kansas City, Seattle, Detroit, Florida, St. Louis, San Francisco, Cincinnati. Oh, that’s not who I think will win division or wild card crowns. It’s who I want to win. Because that’d be wicked funny to watch money-hungry MLB stick that in its big-market pipe and smoke it.

I wish only the best for Chase Daniel and Graham Harrell as undrafted free agents. Go prove a bunch of teams wrong, guys.

I wish Alex Rodriguez would go away. You too, Brett Favre. But it looks like the latter might not go so easily (note: read the last three paragraphs, in particular).

I wish to put the following video on my blog. Because it is humorous and may slightly resemble my own life. (The “we like sports” part, not the “I’m gonna sit three inches away from my best bud in the hottub” part)

I wish, retroactively, that my first three Mifflins had had such gorgeous weather as my last one. Then again, I feel lucky that the fourth and final Mifflin Block Party – the only one during which I lived on the freaking street – welcomed perfect sunny skies and warm temperatures throughout the afternoon.

I wish I had more time to enjoy Madison, Wisconsin. I spent my first three years here itching to get out and start that first job, figuring college was just a four-year footprint on my way to “the pros.” But senior year, I realized how much fun this place (and any college experience) is. Would’ve been nice to learn that two years ago. Current froshies and sophs, take note.

I wish T-Mobile would clear up why I’ve watched that same damn Dwight Howard-Dwayne Wade commercial 263 times, and still don’t understand why a video game injury would affect Howard’s life in any way, shape or form. And while we’re at it, just who the heck is that old white guy using the walker and talking trash to Barkley in the “Old School” commercial? These things eat at me.

On the other hand, I wish I was as cool as that Dos Equis guy. I may not be the most interesting man in the world, but my reputation is too expanding faster than the universe. And I too once had an awkward moment just to see how it feels. I, too, live vicariously through myself. Stay thirsty, my friends.

I wish Barry Alvarez would enlighten us as to what he’s thinking up there in that big fancy office of his. I thought the idea was to let Lisa Stone’s contract run out, rather than buying her out since it doesn’t make sense to pay two coaches for a non-revenue program. Fine. But extending her a season? And defending Stone by saying her “team was very close to having an outstanding year”, during a 6-12 conference season? This is a coach that not only had the most prolific scorer in UW men’s or women’s basketball history and failed to reach a single NCAA tournament (in fact, Stone still hasn’t brought her team Dancing in her six years here), but also has had numerous players leave the program (four of which I’ve actually met personally … I’m sure there are others).

I don’t understand the move. Neither do any of my Wisconsin sportswriting brethren. Neither do the fans, who commented on the Cap Times’ story. Neither do two of those ex-players still on campus. But hey, if Barry signed off on it, he must be right, right?

I wish I loved the NHL playoffs more. Numerous people have complained about a lack of playoff hockey coverage on this blog. I wish I could get into it, but I can’t! It doesn’t help that I live in a NHL-less state. Well, if anyone would like to produce coverage on the playoffs, let me know and we’ll be happy to post any work on it.

I wish this Denver Nuggets run would never end. No, seriously. Can they just play all the way through the summer? During their Game 1 thrashing of the Mavericks (give Dallas credit, though, they hung in there for three quarters and change), I figured out why I love the Nuggets more than any other team in sports: win or lose, George Karl’s guys make at least three or four plays every game that make you leap out of your chair and cheer or fist pump or unleash a tribal scream (you know, for playoff time). They’re just so darn fun to watch.

And I wish some NBA expert would explain to me why the Nuggets can’t beat the Lakers. Some guys are coming around, but apparently not our own Denver alumnus, Jon Barry (he said at halftime today the Nuggets can “absolutely not” touch the Lakers).

While I’m at it, I wish the Lakers do beat the Rockets in their series. In fact, I hope they thump them real good. In four games, seven games, whatever. Just make sure LA matches up with Denver. I’d hate for Houston to steal our prize.

Bring. On. L.A.

This isn’t a wish, but can you Nuggets fans believe that just 10½ months ago, this was happening??? We almost had neither Carmelo nor Chauncey. Now we have both. As Kanye says, “it’s amazing, so amazing.”

I wish, if I were to land a TV job somewhere in a hypothetical situation, it is with TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’ with EJ, Kenny and Chuck. Those who have watched this ridiculously entertaining show need no further explanation. If you haven’t, well, YouTube it. My petty words cannot do it justice. Here’s some help…

I wish to amend this statement I wrote in a Badger Herald column three years ago, in my first-ever birthday column: “I wish Bret Bielema a successful first season. Hard to say about his ability as a head coach just yet, but he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve met in sports.” Ummmm…wow. Just wow. I have no comment beyond that. You guys who have covered UW football with me know what I’m talking about.

Speaking of that old column, I wish for a Lakers cheerleader. Four years running, still nothing. I’ll keep wishin’.

And more than anything else, I wish my unemployed title is lifted in the next week or so. Crossing my fingers…hey, can’t a guy wish for something realistic that he actually has control over?

And that’s all I have to say about that. Due to a certain Thursday event involving the above statement, I’ll only have one more blog post – my Sportsmen of April – for the rest of the week. Wish me luck!

Have a good one.



  1. Very entertaining read - I especially liked the tidbits about the death of journalism and enjoying college. Also, I'm glad my roommates and I aren't the only ones fascinated by The Most Interesting Man in the World.

    Good luck on Thursday ... and did you really write that about Bielema?

  2. Oh, I don't agree with your proposed flopping rule however. There is no way that the officials could even come close to enforcing that rule consistently or fairly.