Let’s rip through an abbreviated batch of links that would have been much better if we didn’t fall horribly behind on e-mails this week:
• I couldn’t do another Media Day this year. It’s fun the first time, significantly less fun the second time, morbidly depressing the third time and by the fourth time, you’re fighting off the urge to just walk around drunk and ask players, “Which guy on your team drinks the most?” Anyway, if you missed any of my four Media Day columns, I wrote a running diary in 2002. In 2004, I wrote a column about a prank when my friend Sal pretended to be John Kasay for a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” piece. In 2005 and 2007, I did photo essays with captions.
Also, if you missed any of my other Super Bowl columns from those years, just click on my Subject Archive to find them.
• We ended last week’s links with an unbelievably depressing feature about Eastern Arizona College men’s basketball coach Tim Parmeter. I didn’t think this was possible, but the story has somehow gotten worse: Parmeter recently lost his job for allegedly having an affair with an underage student. Here’s the first local news story about it on Jan. 23, with a follow-up story in the Arizona Republic this week. Unbelievable. You might see the “Real Sports” producers and “E:60” producers get into a melee over which show gets this story first.
• Some solid reads from the past week: A well-done Letterman-Leno piece in New York Magazine … Tim Layden’s feature on Joe Andruzzi’s battle with cancer … Bernie Miklasz breaks down the Belichick-LaRussa friendship … a New York Times piece on Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and the statistical revolution in the NBA in which Morey somehow avoids revealing any of his secrets.
• Back in December, I made up the perfect Jason Kidd trade in which he ended up on the Lakers in a complicated four-team deal. This week, Kidd finally asked out of New Jersey — check hoopshype.com for all the relevant links from the past two days — opening the door for a potential Lakers trade. The problem is they’d need to include Kwame Brown in the deal to make it work, but with Andrew Bynum out for two months, you could argue they need Kwame as a big body even though he’s a stiff. Personally, I would have moved on Kidd, included Kwame in the deal and signed C-Webb or P.J. Brown. But that would make too much sense.
• One other interesting note about a Kidd trade: If you mess around with ESPN.com’s NBA Trade Machine, there aren’t a lot of options out there for New Jersey. My prediction is the Nets will end up settling on a lousy offer from Dallas — something like Kidd and Bostjan Nachbar (absorbed by Dallas with its $2.4 million trade exception) for Jason Terry (a decent replacement for Kidd, although his contract sucks), Eddie Jones (expiring deal), Keith Van Horn (even though he’s retired, Dallas still owns his rights, so they could sign-and-trade him for $6 million to make the numbers fit and he’d get a free paycheck), two No. 1 picks and $3 million. Basically, the Nets would swap Kidd for Terry at half the price, pick up two late first-rounders and save a ton of cash. Better than nothing, right?
• Here’s a complete list of people, circumstances and events that made the “Incredible Hulk” angry during the TV show with Bill Bixby. When I was a little kid, it always destroyed me emotionally every time poor Bruce Banner had to leave his new job and hitchhike to another town in torn jeans as sad piano music played in the background. If you’re too young to remember the show, check out one of those endings right here. You gotta love YouTube.
• As “The Wire” continues to bang home in Season 5, newspapers are in some serious trouble. Check out the e-mail sent out by L.A. Times editor James O’Shea to his staff after getting ousted last week. On the flip side, here are two great newspaper links from the past week: Jason Quick’s superb series on chemistry and the Trail Blazers (a must-read for NBA fans), and a Seattle Times investigative series on Rick Neuheisel’s tenure at UW that includes an astounding report on every horrible thing Jerramy Stevens ever did.
• Here’s the actual NBC telecast from the 1975 Georgia Tech-Notre Dame game in which Daniel “Rudy” Ruettinger sacks the QB on the final play. Somebody needs to dub this over with “Rudy” music.
• The writers’ strike officially hits its fourth month next week and the TV industry is finally starting to feel major repercussions in the ratings department, although the networks obviously saved an ungodly amount of money with production expenses. Meanwhile, as Zach in Scarsdale, N.Y., e-mailed me to say, “Your prediction about how TV execs would use this strike was dead-on. Already NBC’s Jeff Zucker is canceling upfronts and predicting a year-round season. Maybe you should start predicting things other than football. Wait … then who would I know NOT to pick?”
• Other worthy YouTube clips sent from the readers:
1. Brian in Austin, Texas: This is why college sports are great: Here’s video of a bunch of Baylor students greeting the team bus in Waco after their five-overtime victory over Texas A&M. This had to be at least 1 a.m.
2. Spencer in D.C.: Don’t know if you caught this clip of Norm MacDonald from Dennis Miller’s old HBO show. The topic (smoking) is dear to your heart, and by the end, Norm has Miller falling out of his chair.
3. Tom in Peoria, Ill.: Here is a great clip of Artie and Jim Breuer telling Norm MacDonald stories on the Stern show. Breuer’s is a gem about a run-in between Norm and Kattan where he does both voices (one minute in).
(Note from Simmons: Can we officially call Norm the most underappreciated comic of the past 15 years? I think we can.)
4. Mike in Somerville, Mass.: I was looking through your YouTube collection and see you are an Eddie Murphy fan. Well, you won’t believe this clip from Letterman of Eddie and Dick Cavett. Priceless!!
5. David in San Antonio: In November 1970, a dead eight-ton sperm whale washed up on a beach in Oregon. The task of removing the large, rotting carcass was given to the department in charge of maintaining the highways within the state. Their solution was to stuff the whale with a half-ton of dynamite and blow it up. The result was large chunks of whale blubber falling from the sky, and spectators running for their lives. Oh yeah, it was also caught on tape by the local news. Thirty-seven years later, it is now on YouTube for our viewing pleasure.
• This link cracked me up: The Colts are having a “Fan Appreciation Sale” on their Web site right now. You can get a 2007 Division Champs T-shirt for 50 percent off!
• Did you follow the hullabaloo about the Boston Globe pushing a book called “19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England’s Unbeatable Patriots” for preorder on Amazon.com this week and inexplicably attempting the jinx of all jinxes? Our friends at bostonsportz.com jumped on this Monday, and then the Inside Track girls ran with it in Tuesday’s Boston Herald. By Wednesday, the Amazon link had been removed because the Globe was taking such a beating locally. And you thought my ’86 Celts/’07 Pats breakdown was bad.
<P. • Looks like Hank Steinbrenner is pursuing a controlling interest with Tottenham Hotspur. … That’s right, the soccer team I’d be following if I had time to follow the English Premier League.
Finally, some recommendations from the readers:
• Andrew in D.C.: I was stunned when I saw this — a Washington Post political reporter has modeled his analysis after your “Levels of Losing” column. Did you ever think you’d become a political consultant? Based off your model, Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama is huge — the most influential endorsement you can get.
• Josh W. in Kansas: Hey, Sports Guy, I thought you might enjoy this in-depth feature on the family of the “Manhattan Messiah” and probable No. 1 pick of the NBA draft, Michael Beasley. My favorite parts were that Beasley’s older brother goes by “Diamond” and when Beasley’s mom says, “People hear I have five kids from four fathers, and I know what they think, but the truth is, they’re the only four men I’ve ever been with.”
• Shawn in Ontario: Go ahead and take all your money and bet on Jamario Moon winning the dunk contest. I can’t imagine another NBA city with a bigger Internet presence than Toronto. You’re not just talking about the entire greater Toronto area, you’re talking a whole country. Those other three don’t have a chance.
• Paul G. in Toronto: I thought you might enjoy a look into how pathetic Toronto sporting moments have been over the past 25 years. This link provides a sportswriters’ compilation of the top 25 moments in Toronto sports in the past 25 years. The event has to have occurred within Toronto’s borders (with a slight fudge factor). I would bet most wouldn’t even recognize more than three moments on this list. And somehow, Tiger Woods is a top-three moment. We have two major-league sports teams (NBA, MLB) and one minor-league team (NHL) and these are all the moments we can come up with. Now you can see why we get so excited when our basketball team wins 47 games against inferior competition.