Our straight man on sports discusses the Celtics and Bulls, the terrible boxing match of Pacquiao v. Hatton and the triumph of Mind That Bird at the Kentucky Derby.
Rest assured. The 2009 Celtics and Bulls, with all their combined injuries and current line-ups could play each other another 100 times (each featuring 100 overtime periods a pop) and the score would probably still end up Still Fucking *tied* along an endless insane basketball möbius.
As They Might be Giants wisely prophesied: "It's like a whirlpool / And it never ends."
With one ridiculous desperation three-pointed after another, the series was the basketball version of rock 'em sock 'em robots. Sadly the NBA isn't played inside a vacuum and so human bodies got dog tired and last year's champs (and this year's overdone pork chop) the Boston Celtics grinded out a Game 7 victory that ends a heart-stopping series with like a fucking semi-colon. Neither team will be winning the NBA championship. It was played for the pirate booty of simple pride.
One team has a long summer thinking about hitting this shot or some other shot. The other can say, after they lose in some later round to some better team, at least we balled out that first round and Never Gave Up. But always remember: nothing lives up to the hype. If the hype was real this series would never have been settled. They would nightly fight Sisyphus-style. Nothing lives up to the hype. Except maybe Halle Berry's boobs. But then, we'll never find out up close.
For exhibit B in the Weekend Hype Disappointment Department comes Pacquiao v. Hatton. A fight which lasted slightly longer than it took you to read the first paragraph of this column. Professional boxing is all about hype. The hype of dream matchups. Would you pay $50 to watch two grown men punch each other without the sneaky hype machine? Maybe. But why leave it to chance? Hatton came up smurf-sized (and his punches seemed smurfy) compared with the speed of Pacquiao. Pacquiao is the best pound for pound fighter in boxing. Which used to mean something, like being the king of rock n' roll or being the pope meant something in a simpler time.
The recently un-retired Floyd Mayweather Jr. would be the only other viable candidate for that position-and he won't be fighting Pacquiao until October or November at the earliest. Let the Hype Machine for that fight begin. This fight was a bummer. In front of a crowd that sang songs glorifying his power, Hatton had his career put in jeopardy and was knocked out spectacularly. He was out cold before he hit the canvas by a monster left hook. No ten count necessary. Speed beats power this time. Underestimated power defeats overhyped tomato can.
Mayweather beat Hatton in 10 rounds. Pacquiao beat Hatton in 2 rounds. Ergo Pacquiao defeats in Mayweather in 7, right? Boxing matches are not fought in vacuums either. They are fought inside of terrific metaphors, and the imaginations of men attempting to sustain erections. Page me in October or November.
Pacquiao/Mayweather would be the Fight of the 21st Century Thusfar, with a chance to redeem the sport and give fightfan Joyce Carol Oates the very first orgasm of her life. Payperview *that*!!
All knockouts should be set to trance music.
The opposite of hype, hype's worst nightmare, is the underdog. Everybody loves an underdog, right? Or did you, like me, cheer for Apollo Creed and Mr. T. to defeat Rocky in those Rocky movies? (J/k!!) The best thing (by far) about horse-races is the call by the announcer. Which would make the call by whoever the fuck dumbass NBC announcer called Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
This Tom Durkin fellow never seems to recognize that a new horse has taken the lead down the stretch. You can hear him searching for the name of the 50 to 1 horse who has taken the lead off the rail and who is, by the time he is finished fumbling for its name, enjoying a steak dinner back at the hotel.
Bad day at the office, pal. It wasn't an "impossible outcome." It was one of the greatest upsets in one of the oldest American sporting events. And you blew it. Try again in 70 years, I guess. Mind That Bird somehow invisibly and magically won by like 4 lengths, and the announcer might as well have spent that time Taking a Whizz in the mens' room. Double Dribbling and Spanking the Monkey would have won you the trifecta.