In addition to being the year of the upset, the year of the hot goaltender, and the year of complaining incessantly about suspension decisions, the 2012 NHL playoffs are quickly becoming the year of the “puck over the glass” penalty. The call has come up so often in this year’s playoffs that Canadian sports network TSN has started keeping track of it on a big board. They’ve already counted more than 20.
I have my own big board, and it keeps track of how many times the penalty should have been called: zero. That’s because the puck-over-glass rule is the single dumbest rule in hockey, and maybe in all of sports.
Tuesday night, the Yankees and Orioles played the second of a three-game set at Camden Yards. After 12 tense innings, Raul Ibanez broke a 4-4 tie with a two-out RBI double, and the Yanks won when Mariano Rivera notched his first save of the year.
I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, though, so I couldn't watch the game with my MLB Extra Innings package, due to the coverage blackout. If I had MLB.TV for my laptop, I'd have faced the same problem. I live 312 miles from Baltimore (about six hours by car), but baseball's blackout map covers the entire country, and Chapel Hill happens to fall in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., region. This is common all over America; in Iowa, residents are blacked out from watching six different teams. But in a situation unique to North Carolina, I also had no way of watching the game on cable television.
I'm a Yankees fan, and the fact that I miss a handful of games over the course of a 162-game season due to the blackout doesn't qualify as a huge tragedy. But what if I were an Orioles or Nationals fan?
So this challenge just hit my inbox from one Bill Simmons: “Yo, Koppelman," it began, " write a Carmelo rant for our sports blog today.” It was followed by an e-mail from Grantland editor Dan Fierman, also calling me out for "whine, whine, whining” on Twitter instead of really saying something.
OK, boys, if it’s a rant you want, it’s a rant you get. But I’m warning you, it ain’t gonna be pretty. It ain’t gonna be stat-filled or fair and balanced. Because after a lifetime of Knick fandom, I don’t have an ounce of fair or balanced left.
Let’s start with the disgraceful commercials the Knicks ran in welcoming Carmelo Anthony to the team. These ads, designed to stir the emotions of long-suffering Knickerbocker lifers like me, had the audacity to compare this selfish, ball-hogging, team-chemistry killer to Bernard King, probably the most beloved Knick of all time, after Willis Reed, and the one Knick since the '70s who performed in the clutch, played hurt, never complained, and gave us hope that we might actually win a championship. This is not unlike comparing Paulie to Luca Brasi in The Godfather. One sells out the Don for a few extra bucks. The other dies for him.
A quick Google search tells me that you're commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, which means you’re the guy I need to talk to. Now, typically, when I write angry letters, I like to introduce myself before I air my grievances. That way it’s more personal and the recipient of the letter knows he or she is letting down a real human being with a real job, a real family, real hobbies, and a real nonexistent girlfriend. But this time around, I want to cut to the chase, so here’s all you really need to know about me: I’m a guy who had to call my cable provider and sit on hold for 30 minutes while Michael Bolton music was blasted into my ear, only to find out that if I wanted to watch the CBS Sports Network broadcast of San Diego State playing at New Mexico, my monthly bill would increase by five bucks.
There is a God-awful part of the already ridiculous film Jerry Maguire when Tom Cruise's character and Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character tearfully hug after Cuba's character gets hurt making a touchdown catch, comes to, and then dances in the end zone.
This part is particularly obnoxious for many reasons. Cuba's character is an egomaniac who is making millions, yet wants more. Following his end zone celebration, his character is offered a multi-million dollar contract. WHAT. THE. HELL? I'm going to refrain from going off on the rest of that lame-ass movie, but I have made my feelings clear. Acting like a jackass after successfully doing your job, then being rewarded for your stupidity is unreal. The worst part is, the players who seek attention from us always end up getting it. Dancing with cheerleaders, pulling cell phones out, signing the football ... the list goes on.