Friday, January 11, 2008

Ear to the Ground

-I heard Dave Checketts on the radio yesterday talking about the State of the Blues. What an enormously impressive guy. He is exactly like John Davidson, but from a more administrative standpoint. Each has a unique and amazing ability to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time in exactly the right way to make you believe that the Blues have it all figured out. What's more, it appears they do.

-Are you one who thinks Hillary Clinton's emotional response to a question in New Hampshire was calculated...or spontaneous? The more I watched the video clip, the more I came to believe that it was a direct appeal to voting women...which was exactly the base that she needed to activate at the time to win. There is little about anything in politics these days that's not pre-meditated.

-One year since the Hornbeck/Ownby rescue. One can only imagine the mental challenges these kids have...and will continue to deal with after what they went through.

-I'm a little tired of the Rick Majerus era...and it's hardly gotten started. The Billikens score the fewest points in an NCAA Division 1 game since the shot clock was instituted and Majerus acts as if it's not a concern...and certainly not his fault. Most of his quotes to the press about this year's team...including Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell who are thought of by most as high-quality players...indicate that the coach is just playing the hand he has been dealt. And he doesn't think he's got many cards worth keeping. Majerus' mantra has been....Well, we're not very good and we're doing the best we can. Really? Brad Soderberg at least was competitive with this basic cast of characters. You don't get very far as a group when your leader projects the thought that you're not worth his time. Anybody can coach great players...the great ones can coach not-so-great ones too.

-I haven't got a dog in this fight, but I can't wait to see what Roger Clemens has to say in front of that congressional hearing. The Rocket has at least tried to defend himself..which is more than Barry Bonds has ever tried to do. The lawsuits brewing between Clemens and Brian McNamee should tear a few layers of skin off the steroids monster too.

-Along that line...Marion Jones is going to prison for six months in the wake of her admissions to past steroid use. Her story goes to show that during that time a good percentage athletes thought that illegal substances were tickets to stardom and long as you weren't stupid enough to get caught. In case you've forgotten, Jones was the cute track star that all America fell in love with as she blew away the foreign competition. Not so lovable now...but I don't hear many saying "Shame on you Marion!" Unless some shame is heaped on the cheaters, in addition to the jail time, the temptation will still be out there for the youngsters because noone ever thinks they will get caught.

-Because they will have a 100-million dollar plus payroll, and a fan base that expects competitive management, the Cardinals can't say what's really the case...the 2008 season will be one of transition to a new way of doing business and fans shouldn't expect much.

-The Rams. Wow...what a trainwreck. It appears a lot of dramatic changes are needed from the top down...but aren't imminent.

-I heard someone on the radio the other day encourage Keith Tkachuk to consider immediate retirement. While KT isn't the player he used to be...we all are getting older...he still is a serviceable player in the NHL. The guy still scores at a respectable level, gives you a physical presence, and commands a certain respect on the ice. He's not going to tear up the league anymore. But, at this point, I'd say the investment by the Blues was worth it. Whether they bring him back at the end of the contract should depend on who else is available at a similar cost. With the salary cap, it's all about the numbers.

-More hockey... I heard someone say that Chris Pronger is anxious to return to St. Louis and the Blues at the end of his current deal in Anaheim...which I think has another year after this one. Could Prongs return to the team that was so stupid in trading him to lead the up-and-coming crop of young Blues stars to Stanley Cup dreams? Hold that thought.

-We are in the process of watching the DVD collection of Six Feet Under. The show hit HBO back in '01 and ran for five seasons. It's edgy, funny, sexy, weird, captivating...and most importantly...extremely well written and acted. If you missed it, you might want to find the DVD boxed set at Best Buy. Word of caution--If you're easily offended by language, nudity, and sexual situations, cancel the recommendation.

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