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May 1, 2012 11:30 AM

Column Awards of the Week (4/24-4/30)

By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particular passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly.

Column Awards for slide.jpgOn Friday at Camden Yards in Baltimore, a fan ran onto the field. It was already the fourth incident this season but definitely the most entertaining. The fan ran around the outfield. Then he ran to the infield. Then he circled around 2nd base towards third before running home and diving head first into home plate. After he got up he was quickly put down by umpire Jeff Kellogg. Of course the crowd went wild. Not just at the tackle but the entire event. Who doesn't love watching some idiot run onto the field? Well, there are probably at least nine players on the field that don't.

In addition to the A's on the field, Adam Jones, the Orioles center fielder spoke out on fans running onto the field and stood up for Jeff Kellogg. He told the Baltimore Sun, "I'm sick and tired of these guys running on the field, man. I said let's get a K-9, something. A K-9 [unit] would be fine... It's so annoying. You're stopping the game. I understand you're drunk. I mean, go do that on someone else's expense. I hope that's [Kellogg's tackle] a lesson." He even took it a step further and advocated tasing fans that trespass onto the field.

As much as I enjoy the occasional fan on the field, I have to side with Jones on this one. There needs to be much harsher punishments to dissuade this type of activity and if that is tasing and/or K-9s than I'm all for it. Currently, cops are taught to circle the perpetrator until they can safely take them down. It makes the cops look powerless and frankly lazy as they slowly get into position as the crowd cheers for the fan's escape.

As you can see I'm a little torn. It needs to stop but it's so entertaining. How about we dissuade these individuals with harsher tactics yet make those tactics entertaining? You know how in DC they have the Presidents race? And in Milwaukee it's different types of sausages? Let's have a K-9 unit with one dog wearing an Orioles jersey and the other wearing the jersey of the opposite team. Which dog will drag the guy down first? Or the officers have bean bag guns and the crowd tries to guess what color the bag is going to be. It's really a win-win situation. On to the awards!


Overestimating the Value of Superstars
Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer believes if the Bobcats get the first overall pick that Anthony Davis will transform that team. That's a fairly dubious claim but here's what really bothered me about his article: We like to say that people, and teams, make their own luck. We lie. Good fortune is underestimated in the NBA and every other sport. San Antonio did a great job of packing talent around Tim Duncan, Chicago around Derrick Rose. But without Duncan and without Rose, the Spurs and Bulls are merely a collection of nice players.

This is a bad year to be making that argument. The Spurs are relying less on Duncan now than ever before and the Bulls went 18-9 without Rose in the lineup. It's not really fair to look at the Spurs record without Duncan since Popovich often sat Ginobili and Parker along with Duncan to ease the stress of the compacted season. But let's get back to Rose and the Bulls. It's interesting that he wrote this before the Rose injury. Now we will truly to get to see if they are simply "a collection of nice players." But 18-9? That winning percentage would make them the 4th best team in the league.

Lakers Lucked Out?
Bill Plaschke of the LA Times was one among MANY who didn't think Metta World Peace's suspension was long enough and the Lakers got lucky: The Lakers got so lucky with the NBA's announcement Tuesday, it is the conspiracy theorists who will now be thumping their chests and flexing their biceps.

Am I the only one that thinks 7 games seems fair and if anything, a little too much? I thought David Stern did a good job explaining the why World Peace got 7 games. He said he factored in that it would effect the postseason but that the final regular season game was basically meaningless and also said World Peace's history played a part. But Plaschke has an inside track into the mind of World Peace:

This was about a celebration that turned caustic when somebody walked into the middle of it, the weird mind of World Peace switching from jubilation to rage in a matter of seconds. Maybe even scarier than the elbow was the look in his wild and crazy eyes as he stalked around the floor immediately afterward.

Stern definitely should have tacked on a few more games that that scary look in his "wild and crazy eyes."

Throw Logic Out the Window and Throw World Peace Out of the League!
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated agrees with Plaschke. But he actually sites past suspensions to show how unprecedented this one was...and then ignores that information: First, I understand there is precedent. Trevor Ariza got one game for swinging his elbow at DeMar Derozan in 2009. Dwight Howard got a game for just missing Samuel Dalembert's skull with an elbow in the '09 playoffs. In fact, a seven game elbow-involved banishment is 3½ times longer than any penalty the league has ever assessed.
You know what? I don't care.
This isn't any punishment for any player. This is Metta World Peace, one of the most-penalized players in league history, once again letting his emotions get the best of him, once again endangering the career of another player, once again committing a violent act. History has to be taken into account, not ignored.

Many people cited the numbers of games World Peace has been suspended (116 games) as reason for a harsher penalty but you have to keep in mind that 86 of those were the result of one event that happened 8 years ago. World Peace has been suspended for his actions on the court just once for a single game in his 3 years with the Lakers. That's not exactly the track record of a crazed lunatic as everyone is making him out to be.

David Stern Loves Concussions!
Christine Brennan of USA Today ALSO believes World Peace got off easy but she takes on the hot topic of concussions in sports: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton? Gone for a year in the bounty scandal. Phoenix Coyotes goon Raffi Torres? Gone for 25 games for leaving his feet to attack Marian Hossa's head and sending him to the hospital, which means Torres won't be back until next season.
If Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman could lay down the law, why couldn't Stern?

The NBA is just SO FAR behind those other sports now. They're practically slamming people's heads into the ground. Oh wait, that's pretty much what happened in the NHL when Shea Weber smashed Henrik Zetteberg's head into the boards. The NHL, Bettman and Shanahan have been highly criticized for their uneven punishments this postseason. They are taking a step in the right direction but far from a shining example of putting their foot down on concussions. As for the NFL? Hasn't that league been cashing in on big hits since it's existence? Aren't they only stopping now because they are getting bombarded by lawsuits and realize if they don't do something the sport is going to be in serious trouble? Those 2 leagues are setting an example for the NBA? That's like Amy Winehouse being a good example for staying off drugs.

Best Quote of the Week
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports brings us this gem from Robert Griffin III: It's been a lot of fun. You never grow up as a kid thinking that someday Subway would make a food sculpture of you, but it happened. You have to enjoy it.

Nope. I don't think a single kid has ever thought Subway would make a food sculpture out of them. I don't think kids' dreams go 1. Becoming an astronaut 2. Having unlimited amount of candy 3. Going to Disney World 4. Have my likeness portrayed in a sculpture of sub-par deli meat.

Slam of the Week
Let's just say Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News doesn't think too highly of Asante Samuel: THE TRADE of @pick_six22 returned a seventh-rounder.
It's the most significant return Asante Samuel has made in years.
The Eagles traded Samuel to the Falcons for the 229th overall pick in this weekend's draft, apparently because a bag of hammers was way too much to ask.
The hammers hit a lot harder than Samuel ever did.

What's funny is hammers actually hit pretty hard. I think I'd rather be hit by Samuel than someone wielding a hammer.

First 'Hoosiers' Reference of the NBA Playoffs
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel becomes the first to mention the underdog story of a basketball team from Indiana: The Magic are looking for reasons not to be Hoosiers instead of embracing who and where they are. They are the NBA's version of Hickory -- the small-town Indiana high school trying to make an improbable run through the postseason. They are overmatched and undermanned and are led by a volatile coach who has made enemies along the way. ... Actually, you could say the Magic are even bigger underdogs than Hickory High. At least Hickory had its best player during the playoff run. In fact, in the movie, the star player -- Jimmy Chitwood -- shows up at the emergency town meeting and talks them out of firing Coach Norman Dale.

Can you really compare an NBA team to 'Hoosiers'? How big of an underdog can they be? The Magic have the 10th highest payroll in the NBA. And as for the team FROM Indiana? They have the 3rd lowest in the league. So while the Magic are the underdog based on seeding and because of the Dwight Howard injury, comparing them to 'Hoosiers' is way off the mark. They are a team that has been dysfunctional all season long and they've made countless missteps to get to this point.

What's it tell you when Glen "Big Baby" Davis has even bought in and become a team leader? This is a guy who earlier in the year was suspended for a verbal altercation with Van Gundy and acted as if he regretted signing with the Magic during the offseason.
Now, miraculously, he epitomizes what this team is about. He's playing hurt and he's playing hard. He played a team-high 41 minutes in Game 1 after badly spraining his ankle last week. Big Baby, it seems, has become Big Brother.

What does that tell me? It tells me Glen Davis likes to play basketball and accumulate stats. It's not a coincidence that his attitude turned around once Dwight Howard got injured and he took on a more prominent role in the offense. This isn't some selfless act of him doing what is best for the team. He's doing what is best for him and his future.

Second 'Hoosiers' Reference of the NBA Playoffs
Who would've thought there'd be a second one? And this from a series where neither team has any ties to Indiana. Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was a day too late on making the first reference but his too is far from apt: So it was kind of -- I don't know, kind of strange -- to hear Rick Carlisle speaking close to the midnight hour on Saturday, going all Norman Dale in his postgame media session.
Norman Dale?
Hoosiers, man. 1986. With Gene Hackman as the coach of tiny school, ultimate underdog, Hickory High. Coach Norman Dale.
"We're going to keep coming at these guys... trust me," pep-talked Rick, even sounding a tad defiant after Game 1. "We will not be deterred," he added, forcefully. "We're coming out guns blazing."
The only thing missing was a blaring edition of the Hickory High fight song.
Being truthful, I laughed hearing that. It wasn't exactly routine coach-speak for a -- I will remind again -- world championship team.

So why even reference the movie? Is there some game among columnists going on we're not aware of? If you reference 'Hoosiers' you get 50 points. Mention how the lockout-shortened season is causing playoff injuries - 20 points. If the Heat lose mention how LeBron's not clutch - 10 points. If the Heat win mention that it's all meaningless unless they win the title - 10 points. I just imagine some of these guys typing away trying to figure out how many cliches they can fit in this week.

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