Hectic might be a good way to describe this past weekend in the sports world. The Stanley Cup Finals were decided on Friday. The NBA Finals finished on Sunday. There were baseball teams on major streaks. There were golf tournaments deciding spots in the U.S. Open. There were NASCAR races coming down to the wire. And there were coaches dismantling NFL rosters piece by piece.
With all this going on, you had to keep your focus. You had to make sure to see the games within the games. Because while everything may have seemed obvious on the surface, there was plenty to be revealed if you paid attention to the details.
- If you want to win the NBA Finals, find a sidekick for your star – After an epic collapse by Orlando in game 4, LA put the Magic out of their misery. Kobe took home his coveted title and the MVP Award, but don’t be fooled. He couldn’t have won it without Pau Gasol, just like he couldn’t win previously without Shaq, because every star needs a sidekick to win an NBA title. I hope for LeBron’s sake Cleveland was paying attention.
- When it’s time for handshakes, get in line immediately – The Penguins won the Stanley Cup fair and square, but the Red Wings are angry at Sidney Crosby. Word is he didn’t get in line for handshakes until some Detroit players had already left the ice. There’s no cooler tradition at the end of athletic contests and it has gone on for years in the NHL. Inexplicably, Pittsburgh’s captain missed the start of it. With the Penguins likely to play for more Cups in the future, Sid the Kid would be wise to not be tardy again.
- If you want your team’s pitching to improve, schedule the teams that can’t hit – When Jim Tracy took over the Rockies three weeks ago, the team was 18-28 with a 4.92 earned-run average. They’ve since gone 13-4 with a 2.96 era, including an 11-game win streak in which the staff has posted a 2.55 era. But before we start heaping praise on Tracy, keep in mind Colorado has played teams ranked 28th (San Diego), 25th (Houston), 16th (St. Louis), 14th (Milwaukee) and 30th (Seattle) in runs scored.
- It’s ok to miss a vacation if it means you’re playing in the U.S. Open – Brian Gay had planned to take this coming week off. But with a wire-to-wire win at the St. Jude Classic, he earned an invitation to our country’s national championship. Yeah, it will be a bit of a hassle getting everything prepared in a day, but it will be well worth it. Besides, the tournament is being held in NY, which isn’t a bad place to go on a trip.
- If you’re low on gas, slow down to conserve fuel – This rule is pretty obvious, even to casual drivers. But somehow Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle ignored it, played a game of chicken and ended up laying eggs as they both hit empty before the race was done. That allowed cagey veteran Mark Martin to coast in for the win, albeit with his tank dry as he passed the checkered flag. I guess the elder statesman in NASCAR can read the gas gauge better than the young guys.
- When your offense is the best part of your team, running off the star quarterback and the top receiver might not be the best idea - I know Josh McDaniels won the battle with Jay Cutler. But he’ll lose the war if he stays with Kyle Orton as the Broncos QB. And he’ll be run out of Denver faster than you can say John Elway if he doesn’t find a way to get Brandon Marshall back in the fold. This has all the makings of a complete and utter disaster for the rookie head coach. Somewhere, Mike Shanahan is smiling.
THERE IT IS!