September 07, 2005

Not So Fast: Lance on the Comeback Trail and Other Random Thoughts

Has any figurative extension of the middle finger been more satisfying in recent memory than that directed by Lance Armstrong towards the entire nation of France this week? Normally I'm not a big fan of false retirements -- it ain't cool to get everyone to throw you a going away party and then come back before the cake plates have been thrown out -- but you get the sense that Lance has no choice here. The man's integrity has been questioned, and as fictional Indians' catcher Jake Taylor would say, there's only one thing left to do: Win the whole fucking thing. The "whole fucking thing" in this case would be the '06 Tour de France, and it appears that Lance is seriously considering suiting up and riding out once again. Even if he doesn't, you gotta love the move of making some noise to at the very least get those tightwads in France to mess their rather fashionable trousers.

One last note on this: I'm not sure where I stand on the whole Lance doping issue, but I will say that regardless of whether he's always been clean or not, threatening to come back and compete again in the face of more allegations is a brilliant strategical maneuver. Much harder to call the guy a cheater when he's planning to subject himself to more testing just to rub it in your face one more time.

-In a somewhat surreal and entirely stunning moment, Stephon Marbury broke down crying at a press conference Tuesday while discussing the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. My first thought was that Steph might have lost friends or relatives in New Orleans, but apparently that's not the case. I'm not ready to give Marbury the Nobel Prize or decide he's suddenly one of the true good guys in all of sports (though his pledge to donate $500,000 is pretty commendable). However, I will say this -- it's easy to forget that the lens of the media through which we view pro athletes is narrow and often quite distorted. To think that we really know any athletes, or can truly judge their characters from what we read about them in the newspaper, is absurd.

-An immediate test for my reluctance to pass judgment: Celtics' swingman Tony Allen may have done a rather bad thing.

-After I ran my mouth about Robert Traylor failing his physical and losing out on a contract offer from the Nets, presuming that Traylor had failed the exam because of something stemming from his weight, turns out I was probably right, but not in a way I anticipated. Word has it that the Tractor has a pretty serious heart problem similar to the one that sidelined Lakers' draft pick Ronny Turiaf. Here's hoping we see Bob and Ronny lumbering down the floor on an NBA court sometime in the not-too-distant future.

-The Mets -- and most notably Mike Cameron, who was wearing a long jheri-curl wig and #45 jersey to impersonate Pedro Martinez in the dugout -- were having fun early on at Turner Field Wednesday night, but the demoralized looks on the players' faces after Ryan Langerhans' game-winning, two-run single in the bottom of the 10th made me wonder if Willie Randolph's team has any chance of recovering to get back in the wild card race. They were so close a week ago, and now are suddenly five games out. Langerhans' liner to left center might have been a knockout blow.

-ESP-aNnoyance -- Anchors standing up instead of sitting behind their desks at the start of SportsCenter. Am I the only one who finds this completely distracting? Honestly, what is the point of this? Call me old-fashioned, but give me two anchors (preferably neither of which is Linda Cohn) sitting at a desk ready to roll when the show starts. What is standing up, hands awkwardly in the pockets or flapping about at one's sides, going to prove? Does it somehow prove that you, the SportsCenter anchor, are somehow more active than the average bear because you're standing up, therefore making you more "fit" to cover athletic endeavors for a living? Or is it simply to prove that you're actually wearing pants underneath that desk? Whatever the case, I don't get it, and I don't like it. Sit down.


Blogger jimmyrad said...

Sit down, indeed. Nice one.

10:17 AM, September 08, 2005  
Blogger Aimee Berg said...

You missed the most amazing thing in the Tony Allen article -- the guy he shot is named "Marktwain." That's his first name! Sit down!

11:18 PM, September 16, 2005  

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