Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

While LeBron James is trying to right the Lakers' ship, his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have suddenly shown a lack of patience.

Tyronn Lue, who coached James & the Cavaliers to the NBA title two years ago, was let go over the weekend after an 0-6 start. Owner Dan Gilbert, apparently, is too impatient to prove his team can succeed without James, but, in this writer's opinion, this was too soon, and too Steinbrennerian in its execution.

The late George Steinbrenner, a Cleveland native, dumped former player-turned-manager Yogi Berra in 1985 after a 6-10 start as Yankee manager. Back then, however, Steinbrenner was known for his own impulsive decision making borne out of impatience. Will these owners never learn that sometimes, patience is a necessity?

Not far away, the woeful Browns, despite two wins this season, dumped Hue Jackson on Monday, along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Owner Jimmy Haslem could've cut Jackson loose after last year's 0-16 campaign, but kept him around long enough to see the losing streak end. The Browns are not going to be in the playoffs any time soon in a division that also has in-state rival Cincinnati, Baltimore (the former Browns have won 2 titles since becoming the Ravens 22 years ago), and Pittsburgh, whom the Browns play on Sunday.
Between the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, & Red Sox, Boston has hosted 13 victory parades since 2002. The latest saw this week's Dunce Cap winner demonstrate complete and utter stupidity.

Boston sports fans have gotten into the habit of throwing beers to the teams, often throwing them with caution to the wind. This ain't like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin calling for, then slamming down, two cans of the suds, usually light beer, at a time in the WWE. That the fans took time from work and school to line the streets of Beantown on Halloween was bound to create some sort of unnecessary controversy.

Consider, then, 19 year old Patrick Connolly of suburban Sandwich. His errant toss struck BoSox manager Alex Cora, who wasn't seriously hurt, thankfully. Connolly, understandably, was arrested, and, judging by the young man's words, the beaning was accidental.

Connolly, though, isn't shouldering the burden of the Dunce Cap by himself. He was not the only one tossing unopened beer cans to the Red Sox, but this should put a cap (pun ntended) on the practice. Something needs to be done between the city and its sports teams to prevent another incident like the one on Wednesday.

Look at it this way, though. It was broad daylight. The fans, I think, were sober when they decided to toss the suds.
Before signing with the Yankees to be their radio play-by-play voice prior to the 1989 season, John Sterling had been a TV voice of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.

Per Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, Sterling will spend some time this season in the Brooklyn Nets booth on the YES network, where Sterling only otherwise appears as the host of Yankeeography and the team's annual Old Timer's Day event. After 30 seasons in the Bronx, most folks are of two minds on Sterling. On one side, he's an annoying, self-promoting, self-serving goof who often miscalls plays or misses them entirely. On the other, he's been a dependable voice on the radio, the likes of which the team and its fan base hasn't seen since the days of Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, & Bill White, back at a time when three men alternated between radio & television, a practice continued today by the San Francisco Giants (Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, & Jon Miller).

Having watched some Hawks games on WTBS when Sterling was there, and having heard him do some college football on YES, getting him away from the Yankee pom-poms might actually be a good thing.
Some passings in recent days to close out this column.

Jack Patera was the first coach of the Seattle Seahawks when they debuted in the NFL in 1976. Patera spent six-plus years with the team, fired two weeks into the 1982 season in the midst of a strike. Patera, the brother of Olympic weightlifter-turned-pro wrestler Ken Patera, was 85 when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

Hank Greenwald spent 16 seasons as a play-by-play voice with the San Francisco Giants, with a 2 year hitch in New York with the Yankees in between, and also was the radio voice of the Golden State Warriors. Greenwald passed away last weekend.

The Giants are also mourning Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey, who passed away Wednesday at 80. McCovey also had two tours of duty with the team, in addition to stints in between with Oakland and San Diego.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

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