Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I was busy with a full week of shows (a rarity on KDAL) and other work-related issues. I am returning to our normal posting schedule (well, I guess it's not really a schedule) this week. I'm going to start the week with a mishmash of sports and non-sports thoughts from the last few days.
--> I'm not sure why everyone cares about Michael Jackson. There's even a (albeit small) headline on ESPN.com as I type this post on Monday afternoon. Somewhere inside the WDIO newsroom, I can see Dennis Anderson's head exploding. I acknowledge the newsy nature of a famous pop singer being tried for anything - much less child molestation. However, it's an example of the sensationalistic nature of today's media that the prelude to the verdict was two-plus hours of nonstop talk and useless speculation. None of us know what the jury is thinking, and none of us should be making predictions on what the verdict should or will be. Those who believe that Jackson will be found guilty are setting themselves up for quite a fall, by the way - because based on past high-profile cases in California (Blake, OJ), he's not going to get convicted of anything terribly substantial. And if he is convicted of anything substantial, it's going to be immediately appealed. On the bright side, at least he's walking on his own and not wearing pajamas. That's a plus.
--> The NBA Finals might be over. Unless the champs can pull off a miraculous rise off the mat, the San Antonio Spurs will unseat the Pistons, leaving Rasheed Wallace with no more reason to carry around that championship belt of his (I've speculated that he should have to present it to a member of the Spurs after the series is over if San Antonio wins). The Pistons couldn't have looked worse in the first two games. They've been exposed as a marginally-talented team on offense, and a very thin team overall. They won't survive this series if Wallace (Rasheed), Chauncey Billups, and Tayshaun Prince don't find a way to become more involved offensively. The Pistons need more than Rip Hamilton, and they probably need their bench to come up big, something that Joe Dumars hasn't built it to do. Larry Brown will do what he can, but I don't see guys like Lindsey Hunter, Antonio McDyess, and Elden Campbell doing more than telling jokes on the bench to make Darko laugh.
--> Am I the only one who doesn't think a whole lot of Eva Longoria? Sorry, but I'd prefer to stare at Angelina Jolie in the stands. Maybe that's just me. You know, she's available. There has to be an enterprising single San Antonio Spur or Detroit Piston who can make that happen.
--> The NBA is talking lockout. Commissioner David Stern says the league's "best offer" will be on the table until June 30, which is the end date of the current collective bargaining agreement. Meanwhile, union head Billy Hunter doesn't seem too interested in continuing talks, as he cancelled a trip to San Antonio for Game 2 of the Finals last night. Hunter is in a tough spot here. The perception is that he has been a loser to Stern in past negotiations, and he feels the pressure is on him. But you'll be hard-pressed to find a large number of NBA players complaining about the current CBA or their current work situation. Most players seem more interested in playing basketball and finding a way to get a deal done. Hunter may not have the kind of support that NHL union head Bob Goodenow had around the time that the NHL cancelled the 2005-2006 season, but he appears ready to wage a similar fight against the owners. A lockout would be catastrophic for the NBA. Unlike the NHL, pro basketball has reason for optimism in terms of its place on the national landscape. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and others form a solid core of young stars, and teams like Phoenix make the game entertaining again. The loss of all or part of a season could ruin all the positive momentum the league has generated.
--> Onterrio Smith's year-long suspension was confirmed by the NFL last week. The Vikings have only one option here. They must trade or release Smith after his suspension is completed and the league reinstates him. There's no way that the team can ever again trust Smith to lead their running game. Unless he's willing to be a bit player in the Vikes' attack for the forseeable future (until he proves long-term that he can stay clean), he can't stay. The Vikings need a player they can trust to carry the ball 25-30 times a game for 16 games. Smith isn't that guy. For what it's worth, neither is the injury-prone Michael Bennett. The closest thing the Vikes have to an every-down back on the current roster is Ciatrick Fason, and he has some work to do before he'll be ready for such a workload.
--> In closing, we go back to the top. Jackson (Michael, that is) is, as I type, being acquitted on pretty much everything. It wasn't a tough prediction to make. What's stunning (well, not really) is the reaction of those outside the courthouse. We had one moron throwing doves in the air, something I can't rationally comment on right now. Others were tearfully throwing their fists in the air and praising the American justice system. There are two possible conclusions. Either these people don't have jobs, or they took time off work to go to the courthouse and cheer the child molestation verdict of a washed-up, has-been pop singer. You gotta love California.
--> Party at Neverland tonight.