Dreams Blog

March 30, 2012

Dwight’s Talents

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote that, “All the ESPN insiders and NBA numbers geeks and incredulous sports agents just could not comprehend what Dwight Howard did Thursday.
They couldn’t grasp the concept that he would actually waive his right to become a free agent and agree to play at least another season with his team and in his town.                                                               And that’s why this was such a powerful and wonderful thing.
Because it wasn’t business. It was personal.
It wasn’t about the bottom line. It was from the bottom of his heart.
“Others are looking at it from a business standpoint,” Dwight said at a jampacked news conference Thursday that turned March Madness in Orlando into March Gladness. “In my heart, I just felt like loyalty is better than anything. … I have to do what’s going to make me happy. I’ve got everything I want right here in Orlando.”

The bill is, in effect, icing for a cake still in search of an oven.”                  Unicorn                                                                                                                                      Have you ever seen a picture of a Narwhal? I wonder if scientists ever tested a narwhal to see if their makeup ever existed outside of the Antarctic region. They just may find that unicorns aren’t extinct after all.                                                                                                                                                     Snyder Tax                                                                                                                                    As best I see it, DC Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder didn’t sit still during the NFL work stoppage. The team owners agreed not to use the situation to set themselves up in better positions when the “troubles” ended. Snyder’s guys shifted money, moved it, dumped it, and did everything they could to emerge in better shape when the labor strife ended.

Winning The Back Page

The football Giants earned their place at the top of the back page with their Super Bowl victory.

The Jets, on the other hand, tried to get the back page by trading for Tim Tebow. They felt that “Tebow-Mania” would push the Giants out of the view of fans.

Power Of Words

The Sports Curmudgeon recounted how Warren Sapp said that Jeremy Shockey told the NFL about the Saints’ bounties and called him a “snitch,” “First, consider the use of the word “snitch” here. The connotation for “snitch” is someone who violated some kind of trust and gave up information for his personal benefit. A “snitch” is usually not someone held in high regard. Compare and contrast the word “snitch” with the word “whistleblower”. A “whistleblower” is often considered to have been done a noble deed by exposing nefarious doings by others – – usually higher ups – – thereby bringing more order to the universe.                                                                                                                                           A “snitch” and a “whistleblower” are close relatives with regard to their actions. Nevertheless, we bestow honor on “whistleblowers” and scorn on “snitches”. That is the power of words…

More Word Power

Mike Bianci (Orlando Sentinel) quoted a North Carolina Congressman who happens to be a UNC alumnus, “If Duke was playing against the Taliban then I’d have to pull for the Taliban.” Woo-Boy, that’s a dislike that goes back to the old neighborhood.

Said And Unsaid

Rich Cimini (ESPN.com) quoted Tim Tebow as saing and not saying words about a potential QB controversy with Mark Sanchez, “We’re both extreme competitors. Ultimately, it’s my goal to push him to get better and to push myself to get better.” What’s unsaid is if Tebow wants to ultimately push Sanchez out of NY.

Balance Sheet

Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) looked at this Summer’s Olympic games to be held in London and said that London will spend $14.8billion to host the Games and figures it will rake in $1.6billion. “And I thought,” Scott wrote, “I did a lousy job of balancing a budget.”

Now For The Mets

The agreement published by the Mets calls for them to PAY $162million even though they have a claim of $178million against Madoff’s millions. This entire back-and-forth has gotten me dizzy and those telephone numbers that have been tossed about  have been, truly, difficult to understand as well as absorb.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson has been a longtime fan of “Moneyball” which favors promoting lower paid farmhands over signing high-priced veteran free agents. It worked in Oakland because the A’s farm was filled with young pitchers, whose talent was recognized by management, who did well in the big-leagues.

The Mets who have a lot of financial woes, seem ready to play that “Moneyball” card to show their fans that they’re not sitting still.

Adam Rubin (ESPN.com) spelled out a few of these woes, “While the Wilpons made $162 million from some funds, they lost $178 million in other funds, the settlement indicates.                                                      As a result of the settlement, the Wilpons can get on line with other duped investors to get their money back on funds that lost.                 Will they get all $178 million? No.                                                          But they might get 50, 60 or 70 cents on the dollar. If they get the middle of those figures — 60 percent — that means $106.8 million is deducted from the $162 million they owe.                                          Obligations such as $50 million annual bond interest payments on Citi Field should remain in effect. And unless revenues get back in line with expenses, payroll constraints should remain as well.”                           Jump On That

Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) passed along some thoughts on women’s basketball, “At both the college and pro level, women play the type of sound, selfless, fundamental basketball that characterized the NBA in its early days – enough to warm any purist’s heart. But it’s not just the dunk that goes missing; it’s the elite-level jump shot.

Think of a great shooter at the top of his leap, from Jerry West and Dave Bing to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant; this is a rare sight in women’s basketball. The shooting is fabulous, but most of the great shooters unload from a set or low-to-the-ground position, with old-school form.

Is it a gender thing? Please. Watch women’s volleyball at the collegiate or Olympic level, and people are jumping right out of the building. Track and field, gymnastics and many other sports overflow with astounding ability. Basketball draws its share of great athletes, but not many world-class leapers. And it just seems odd.”

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Blog

March 23, 2012

Modern Gladiators

I can see how NFL games might resemble Roman Coliseum gladiatorial games. I wonder if the scribes, at the time, called for ending the barbarism.

Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) wrote, “There was a time when the signature theme of NFL marketing was absolute, unbridled mayhem. Everyone loved the highlight footage of Gale Sayers, Jim Brown or Johnny Unitas in the 1960s, but what truly propelled the popularity of NFL Films – and thus the league itself – was a package of barbaric hits by the likes of Dick Butkus, Mike Curtis and Chuck Bednarik.

“And if anyone thinks the idea of “bounties” dates back to someone like Buddy Ryan, from his days as a defensive coordinator and head coach in the 1980s, a refresher course is necessary.”

Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) talked about the Redskins when Greg Williams coached there, “The Redskins might have had a bounty on players when Gregg Williams was their defensive coordinator, but judging from their tackling then, apparently they declared a mutiny on the bounty.”

NY klucks

I’m looking at how the Knicks have been doing of late and I’ve been wondering what they’ve been thinking. Coach D’Antoni didn’t help when he said, “”For whatever reason,” D’Antoni said, “we don’t seem to overcome any obstacles.” Are you kidding? He’s making $6million and says something like that. Again, a damning quote. His Knicks are the very worst thing you can be in the NBA: soft. Anthony is playing too tight. He has to loosen up.

Maybe D’Antoni should sit J.R. Smith so Lin could go back to his aggressive style of play.

Oakley and Ewing were able to play well while being on the court together, so should Chandler and Stoudemire.

I don’t know if even Dr. Phil could convince some of the Knicks to play team basketball.

Resignation Reason

The HOF Detroit Pistons’ coach Chuck Daly said a while ago that to be successful, NBA players have to say yes to being coached. This entire team embarrassment can be laid at the feet of their owner, “Garden” Dolan.

When this season began Donnie Walsh was the GM and D’Antoni was the coach. The team was relevant, popular, exciting, and seemed to have a plan.

But Walsh was pushed out, Dolan orchestrated the Anthony deal for three good players. While Anthony was out injured, the team went on winning streak and Lin showed how good he was in getting everyone involved. Anthony came back and the team began losing.

Anthony is a one-dimensional player who seems to be slowed down by weight and is having a hard time getting off his shot.

Who is Dolan going to blame now.

 Ian O’Connor (ESPN.com) commented that, “Carmelo Anthony reportedly clashed with the former head coach, ignored D’Antoni’s offensive sets and showed an effort that appeared to come and go. Before Wednesday’s victory, the Knicks had been 2-8 since Anthony returned from a strained groin, after winning seven straight behind Jeremy Lin.
D’Antoni commanded an offense that ran through the point guard and was predicated on ball movement, whereas Anthony’s strengths are predominately in the post and on isolation plays from the wing. The two clashed, if not in the locker room, then on the court. Anthony was visibly frustrated and, at times, dejected.
Interim head coach Mike Woodson said he would change some things, specifically working the offense more through Anthony and Stoudemire.
“I think he was a little frustrated by the fact that everyone wasn’t buying into his system,” Stoudemire said of D’Antoni. “It made him look bad so he felt that, I guess, stepping down was the best way for him.”
Anthony said he didn’t know why D’Antoni bailed. He contends that he and D’Antoni never had any issues and said after the morning shootaround — before news of the resignation broke — that he supported D’Antoni “100 percent.”

But when a coach publicly admits his team has no resolve, that coach is publicly asking to be fired.                                                                                                                     D’Antoni begged out before Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the team’s Westchester practice facility, begged out in the company of executives Glen Grunwald and Allan Houston. But then, according to Dolan, D’Antoni “did offer to stay” in a post-practice meeting with the owner. Dolan’s thanks, but-no-thanks response was his first good move in a very long time.”

I don’t think Dolan wants to deal with VanGundy again- even though he might be the best candidate out there. He, also doesn’t want to pay Calipari based in his college resume and his poor time with the Nets. Phil Jackson isn’t coming down from his mountain for this mess. So, that leaves Jackson who will get an extension if he gets into the playoffs.                                                                                                            

Parting Thought

Greg Cote (Miami Herald) wrote that, “The jewel of Miami Sailing Week, the Bacardi Cup, was twice postponed by too much wind. Wait a second. Isn’t that like a tanning competition being postponed by too much sun?”

UGH

Every time I hear “Score the basketball,” I shudder. It’s not a fun thing to hear.                                                                                                                                               Toe That Line                                                                                                                                        Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) forwarded this note, “Randall McDaniel, who plowed his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a 6-foot-3, 287-pound guard for the Minnesota Vikings, is now an elementary-school teacher in Minnetrista, Minn.

Classroom discipline, we assume, is not a problem.                                   News Flash                                                                                                                         “In tennis,” reported Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, “Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Akgul Amanmuradova in the inaugural Spell Check Classic.”

Drinnin’s Loops

Greg Drinnin of the Kamloops Daily News forwarded these along: “Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “When you wonder how highly-paid athletes become bankrupt, consider this. Adrian Beltre of the Dodgers was on the front page of the Los Angeles Times on Saturday. The reason: His house has 16 bathrooms.                                                 Oh, to be a high school student in Kentucky!                                                 Starting in the fall, bass fishing is going to be a varsity sport in that state.”

OOF!                                                                                                   Pittsburgh Power owner Matt Shaner — in a pre-emptive move in the face of a scheduled Arena Football League players’ strike (if you can believe that) — fired all 24 members of his team just hours before the season-opening kickoff.                                                                                                        In other words, Arenaderci.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Blog

March 16, 2012

The Manning Sweepstakes

Bruce Jenkins gave us this clue: “Manning’s former Indianapolis coach, Tony Dungy, dropped a key phrase the other day, saying, “Peyton is a creature of habit.” He’s had a place in Miami for years. His wife and kids love it there. Familiarity will be a huge factor, and all of those annoying distractions – finding a house, schools, acclimating to a community – wouldn’t be in play.

The man does have an ego, as well. Miami is a glitzy, high-profile city with a history of luring the big names: LeBron James, Pat Riley, Bill Parcells, Shaquille O’Neal, Jose Reyes. Some doubt the wisdom of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, but he’s got the resources. Manning, who grew up following the Dolphins and Dan Marino, won’t be able to resist.”

The Washington Redskins have apparently dropped out of the sweeps. They sent this year’s 1st   (#6) and 2nd round draft choices along with their first round choices in 2013 and 2014, to St. Louis for their 1st round choice (#2) this year. This gives them Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

What Does “Fair” Mean

RB Brandon Jacobs was cut by the NY Giants when he and the team were unable to reach a fair settlement on how to restructure his expiring contract that called for a $500K roster bonus on 3/15. The contract also called for him to receive a $4.4million salary this coming year. He STILL could re-sign with the team but at much lower figures. This had to be done this way to conform to the CBA. 

The Green Zone

There was a lot of disagreements with the Jets and their Sanchez extension. First up is Rich Cimini of ESPN.com: “The three-year, $40.5 million extension (through 2016) means Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum are all-in with Sanchez. He’ll either make them famous or get them fired. The deal includes $20.5 million in guarantees in the first two years and no offsets, meaning he’s their starting quarterback for at least two more seasons. This is “statement” money. To eliminate any questions about Sanchez’s standing with the team or stature in the locker room, the Jets answered with the kind of vote of confidence that grabs everybody’s attention — money! . The Jets rewarded a player after openly acknowledging he didn’t progress as expected. What kind of message does that send? When the season ended, Tannenbaum said Sanchez “didn’t play well,” admitting they weren’t pleased with his rate of development. Instead of keeping the pressure on him and making him play for the guaranteed pay, they just handed it to him.
 Uh, I don’t think this is going to quash the perception that he’s coddled.”

Then Stephen A. Smith (ESPN.com) wrote, “It’s bad enough that Rex Ryan has failed on his Super Bowl predictions. It’s even worse that Mark Sanchez spent so much time last season proving how ridiculous such guarantees were in the first place. But this latest move by the New York Jets — in which they’ve basically resorted to their same old coddling tendencies, rewarding regression instead of progression — just shows this franchise to be the second-class citizen it truly is. The shrapnel of criticism aimed in Sanchez’s direction isn’t entirely about his ability to play football. It’s just about time to fret over Sanchez’s mental makeup and this insatiable need the Jets evidently feel to nurture his psyche, no matter who else on their roster they alienate in the process.

Did anyone listen to LaDainian Tomlinson talk of how much Sanchez was coddled after the season? How about former Jet and noted ESPN NFL analyst, Damien Woody, who essentially said the same?

Does anyone recall seeing Santonio Holmes pout his way into the offseason? Or Ryan being pushed to a near-tearful mea culpa, acknowledging he was asleep at the wheel while acrimony and dissent were ballooning in his locker room instead of wins?

Who’s the common denominator in all of this?

Don’t bother answering. We all know the deal.”

I Was Wondering

Some of those bounties placed on opponents by NFL defensive coordinator Gregg Williams were as low as $10 and $20. These low figures were attractive to players whose contracts totaled millions of dollars because those players didn’t have any walking around cash in their pockets.

How come pro-football coaches who knowingly break rules are never punished in any way.

Gregg Williams was quoted as saying that what he did was wrong and he knew it. SO?

Wild Golf Bet

Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) wrote about a Chicago stockbroker who, in 1939, had a bet with his business partner, “The story follows the exploits and misadventures of 32-year-old James Smith “Smitty” Ferebee, a Chicago stockbroker who attempts to win a bet with a business partner by playing 600 holes of golf over four consecutive days in eight cities, starting in Los Angeles and finishing in New York.                                                                   At stake was $100,000  (in 1939 $’s) and the deed to 296 acres of land along Broad Bay in what is now Virginia Beach.                          Ferebee set out by foot (there were no electric golf carts in those days) and plane (on an American Airlines DC-3 provided by air-conditioning magnate Reuben Trane) to hack his way into the headlines and newsreels and onto national radio programs.            It was the era of flag-pole sitting and marathon dances. But nobody had tried Ferebee’s cross-country challenge of walking and playing 182 miles of fairways and greens in so little time. Blisters, a turned ankle, bad weather and a lack of sleep conspired to complicate his adventure.”

Hard To Believe

Mike Bianci (Orlando Sentinel) asked this question: “Hard to believe Arena League players are considering going out on strike. Philosophical question: ‘If players go on strike and nobody notices, is it really a strike?’ … Hey, I’m all for Arena League players making more money, but it doesn’t seem like they have much leverage. Seriously, do you really think Arena League fans care if their team uses replacement players? They don’t even know who the real players are. As long as the beer’s cold and the cheerleaders are hot, most Arena fans are pretty happy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Blog

March 9, 2012

A Peyton Pipe Dream

Ian O’Connor (ESPN.com) looked at the NY Jets thoughts about going after, free agent, Peyton Manning and wrote: “The owner, GM, and head coach swore Sanchez would be their guy for years and years to come. So now two AFC Championship Game appearances and one .500 season later, they’re going to junk the program because an aging, rusty, recovering quarterback just threw a series of tight spirals on the campus of Duke?

But he’s old, banged up, and a short-term response to a long-term championship drought. The Jets don’t need a better, more accountable version of Favre.

They need Mark Sanchez to keep growing into the quarterback they drafted him to be.

It Was Worthwhile

The game between the Knicks and the Celtics played on 3/5 was an exhausting one to watch. It was reminiscent of the Bradley-Havlicek wars of a different time.

This game was filled with changes in momentum, lead changes, clutch shots by both sides, and non-stop action.

It’s just too bad Boston won 115-111.

Conversations

Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) passed along these chats, “Casey Jacobsen isn’t so sure the J.R. Smith experiment will work in New York. Jacobsen, the former Stanford star who played with Smith in New Orleans, wrote this for Slamonline.com: “We were a bad team, full of me-first guys, but he took the crown. I’d never seen a guy so intent on shooting the ball every time it hit his hands, and I’m sure I never will again.”             

Little Basketball League

I’d like to see a pro-basketball league with a max height of six feet. ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor cited Bob Cousey as saying, “”The game of basketball over the years has been associated with big people,” Cousy said from his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., “but what separates the men from the boys is speed and quickness, and I saw that Lin has both in abundance.” Of course, Lin would be too tall for my league. Carril’e back-door plays were things of beauty.

There’s No Cheering In The Press Box

Bruce Jenkins (SF Chronicle) was rooting quietly about, “Roberto Hernandez Heredia, the Cleveland pitcher who got in trouble for using false identification papers to obtain a visa from the Dominican Republic. You just have to like a guy who changed his name to Fausto Carmona                                                                                            

Appropriate

Tampa Bay’s manager Joe Madden has attempted to build team “chemistry” by having his Rays players wear city-appropriate clothing when they travel into an opponent’s location. They wore grunge in Seattle, Beach Boys in Anaheim, and dressed as Wall Street bankers going to NY.

Madden is quietly cool.

Stop Excessive Hold-ups

Gene Collier (Pgh. Post- Gazette) suggested some ways to stop the hold-ups, “Football has a play clock; baseball should have a pitch clock. Catch it, throw it; you’ve got six seconds. How much of your life have you spent looking at Jonathan Papelbon staring in for a sign like someone watching a sunset? We have the technology to replace signs forever. Catchers wear helmets. Put a mic in ’em. Pitchers don’t wear helmets, but should. If the base coaches standing about 90 feet from the hitter are required to wear helmets for their own safety, why isn’t the pitcher, who is about 30 feet closer and about eight miles higher on the payroll?”       

$100 Million Pitchers Not So Good

John Shea (SF Chronicle) talked about long term contracts for pitchers. “The success rate of $100 million contracts isn’t exactly stellar for pitchers. It’s tremendously risky to commit so much for so long when considering the tremendous risk of arm problems.  , For example, Johan Santana was shut down all of 2011 with a bum shoulder and is trying to bounce back in 2012. Two years are left on his six-year, $137.5 million deal.”

Beer In The Club House

There’s been a lot of noise about the Red Sox drinking beers in the club house during games.

Beer drinking has been a part of games for ever, it seems but the Sawx are a business and drinking during business hours at the office would never be allowed. It’s not an unusual thing for a player to have a few beers after a game and then get into his car and drive home a little tipsy.

Players get paid BIG-money and shouldn’t be upset that owners want to protect their investment by imposing controls on drinking.

Ahab Of The Red Sox

Wallace Matthews (ESPN.com) looked at Valentine and wrote, “It’s barely been 60 days on the job but already, Valentine seems more obsessed with the Yankees than Ahab was with the whale, and we all know how that one turned out.

Should There Be A Winter Season

The MLB players of today don’t need to work in the off season and come to “spring training” already in shape to play. So what’s the need to head South for six weeks? Maybe it’s just to give the writers a vacation.

Attendance at grapefruit/cactus league games has jumped from 2400 in 1976 to 7600 in 2010. The average price of tickets also went up from $1.50 to $30.

The 28wk. season of 162games average is 6gms/wk; for a 5hr period of game play and prep we have a 30hrs/work week.

Indications are there will be continued increases with increased arrivals of retired “boomers.”

We might even see the advent of more domed stadiums that will allow year long baseball

Greg Cote’s Bon Mot

“Basketball analyst Charles Barkley said the most fanatical 20 percent of NBA fans should be shot, apparently detecting no irony in seeing that as the solution to crazy behavior.”

Dwight’s Insights

Dwight Perry sent these along: “Disgraced ex-New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra, who pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement, has been sentenced to three years in a California state prison.

Or as it’s known in baseball circles, he’s going yard.”                 “Evangelical minister Donnie Moore tore up a phone book and rolled up a frying pan with his bare hands Wednesday as he gave the Yankees a spring-training motivational speech.Remember when the Bronx Bombers’ idea of motivation meant George Steinbrenner firing the manager?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Blog

March 2, 2012

Thoughts On Manny

John Shea (SF Chronicle) wrote, “If the A’s were so willing to sign Ramirez, why didn’t they take a flier on Barry Bonds? How awesome would it have been if Bonds suited up in green and gold and played a pigeon’s journey from McCovey Cove? In 2008 and 2009, he would have been at least as good as Ramirez is now. Heck, who’s to say Bonds, at 47, isn’t still a better hitter? Plus, he’s not suspended.”

Ramirez says that he’s turned over a new leaf and wants to be an example to his children. He said, “I made some mistakes and I can correct them.” This “new” Manny could wind up to be Billy Beane’s best move as a GM.

Braun Not Guilty

Brewers OF Ryan Braun won his appeal of the 50 game suspension handed down for being detected using a banned substance. To me, the arbiter’s decision overturning that decision was out of line. In the final analysis, Braun was found to be not guilty. He wasn’t declared to be innocent.

Ostler’s Knucklehead of theWeek

Scott Ostler (SF Chronicle) nominated: “Dino Laurenzi Jr., the nimrod who used Ryan Braun’s urine beaker as flower vase

As the late Johnnie Cochran would have demanded, ‘If you didn’t ship the pee, he must go free.’

Laurenzi, the director of rehabilitation services for United Hospital System in Kenosha, Wis., was identified as the collector of Braun’s specimen. He kept it for two days, instead of shipping it immediately, as specified by baseball’s written agreement.

In related news, MLB has entered into a partnership with Domino’s Pizza. Motto: “Your pizza and urine delivered in 30 minutes, or it’s free.”

Bill Dwyer’s Braun Summary

Bill Dwyer (LA Times) gave us, “For those of you who keep your baseball reading to things such as pitching and home runs, Braun had a sample taken Oct. 1 that reportedly showed the highest levels of testosterone baseball’s drug-monitoring program had seen.

The reason the original finding was overturned, apparently, was that the sample taken from Braun was not delivered in a timely matter to the big test tube place, where the big test tube guys do the big test tube tests. The keeper of Braun’s sample, reportedly a veteran of such things, took the stuff home and waited until Monday to send it. By all accounts, the seal on the sample was intact and the delay did not change the sample.”

Poor Sawx MD’s

Peter Abraham wrote in the Boston Globe that All-Star reliever Bobby Jenks will most likely miss the entire 2012 season. He had surgery to remove two spinal bone spurs but part of a third was partially removed leaving a serrated edge that created an infection that required emergency surgery eighteen days later.

“Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury accused the team of incorrectly diagnosing a rib injury he suffered early in the 2010 season, something the team denied. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia broke a bone in his left foot in June of that season, returned in August, and lasted only two games before having surgery.                      Last year, righthander Clay Buchholz was said to have suffered a minor back injury in June that was later diagnosed by an independent specialist as being a stress fracture. Outfield prospect Ryan Kalish tore a shoulder labrum in April, was advised to try rehabilitation, and eventually required surgery that did not take place until November.”

He Knows The Drill                                                                                                           Dwight Perry also sent this along,Star-crossed center Greg Oden underwent his fifth knee surgery — and third microfracture procedure — since the Trail Blazers drafted him five years ago.                                                                Poor guy’s been cut on so much, he’s been named an honorary med-school cadaver.

Iverson’s Riches To Rags

Bob Molinaro (HamptonRoads.com) wrote, “The story came to light after a Georgia judge ordered Iverson to pay a jeweler in the neighborhood of $860,000. Reportedly, Iverson can’t come up with the money, so his bank account has been seized and his fortune, or what is left of it, is to be garnished.                                                    At 36, Iverson needs work, but suitors are in short supply. His age is the biggest factor working against him, but it doesn’t help that his legacy is shadowed by a reputation for being difficult on coaches.                                                                                         His greatest accomplishment on court came in 2001, when he was league MVP and carried an otherwise mediocre 76ers team to the NBA Finals.                                                                                      But the years and the way he threw himself around like a rag doll took their toll. After his light burned out in Philadelphia, Iverson’s career experienced a rapid descent through Denver, Detroit and Memphis.                                                                                        By the time he resurfaced in Turkey in late 2010, playing in a 3,500-seat arena, stories already were circulating that he was broke.                                                                                       Rumor has it that he might return to Turkey. If not, Puerto Rico’s pro league has also been mentioned. Iverson is in no position to be picky.                                                                                                    It’s reported that 60 percent of NBA players become financially insolvent within five years of leaving the league, but even among that tragic group, has anybody ever burned through $150 million?”        Cashing in                                                                                       Dwight Perry (Seattle Times) looked at how salaries of pro athletes have related to those of every-day workers over the years:                                                                                             “11) Alex Rodriguez (10.18 times)                                                  10) Babe Ruth (10.66)                                                                      9) Bobby Hull (10.8)                                                                       8) Sergei Fedorov (10.85)                                                                         7) Wayne Gretzky (11.07)                                                                               6) Ted Williams (11.11)                                                                           5) Joe Montana (11.23)                                                                    4) Mario Lemieux (11.5)                                                                 3) Ty Cobb (12.59)                                                                              2) Michael Jordan (13.98)                                                                       1) Joe Sakic (14.56)”                                                                             Unhappy landing                                                                            Here’s more from Dwight Perry, “Dan Lariviere landed headfirst and knocked himself cold after he missed with a flying switch-kick during an MMA fight in Montreal last Saturday.                          Alert ring historians immediately credited him with a Me-KO.”

It’s In Her Bones

Greg Cote (Miami Herald) wrote about Katie Ulaender saying, “Katie Uhlaender of the U.S. won gold at the world skeleton championships. I heard afterward she was asked how she felt and said, “Bone tired.”                                                                               He also reported, “The NFL Combine has been happening in Indianapolis. That’s the event where 328 invited college players work out for scouts and nobody cares except the 17 geeky NFL media wonks covering it.”