In honor of my eleventh wedding anniversary today, here’s eleven things I’m thinking about:
1. Barring some sort of definitive evidence that shows that Michael Vick had nothing to do with and no knowledge of the dogfighting that was taking place on his property, I don’t see Vick ever playing professional football again. I think he’ll be banned by NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell. I know we’re supposed to believe in “innocent until proven guilty,” but it’s not a stretch to believe that Vick had at least knowledge of this activity. He’s a bad dude. What’s tragically unfortunate here is not Vick’s future — he’s already made more money than 99.99% of the population will make in their lifetimes and no way will he serve any jail time over this — but that we are again seeing support and condemnation of Vick divided along racial lines. Nothing has changed since O.J, and it’s a damn shame.
2. Packers training camp begins Saturday. Unless you’re drinking the crazy Kool-Aid that Jon Kitna is serving up (I think the Texans will win the Super Bowl before the Lions win 10 games in one season), you have to like the Packers going into the season. The Bears, who stupidly let Thomas Jones go to the Jets, won’t be as good. The Vikings, with Tavaris Jackson at quarterback, will struggle again on offense and won’t be as good on defense following the loss of their coordinator. The only team in the division I see as improving is the Packers. They certainly have a shot to win what will likely again be the weakest division in the weakest conference.
3. Forget about the road woes of the Brewers for a second and how they are in real danger of losing their first-place position in the NL Central not in late August like I predicted but THIS WEEKEND. Let’s focus for a second on Ryan Braun. Who doesn’t love this guy? .525 against left-handers? A .676 slugging percentage? Plus he has a great nickname, “The Hebrew Hammer.” Superstar in the making.
4. I have no problem with the Big Ten adding a twelfth team, but I do have a problem with the conference wanting to do so to blatantly accommodate the Big Ten Network. Maybe I’m being naive, but do we really want television to dictate something as important as the expansion of the storied Big Ten? Hasn’t TV done enough (interminable timeouts, World Series and NBA playoff games starting after kids have already gone to bed) to screw up sports?
5. Big Brother 8. Hey, I didn’t say everything would be sports-related. I guess at this point I’m pulling for Dustin, the shoe salesman from Chicago. I liked Dick for a while, but now he’s being too much of an insecure bully. Plus Dustin lists the Shelley Long disaster Troop Beverly Hills as one of his favorite films. Gotta love that.
6. No way should Badger coach Bret Bielema sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley Field on Monday as he is scheduled to do. Bielema obviously doesn’t represent the Brewers, but it’s not too great a leap from Bucky to Bernie, and most Brewer fans hate the Cubs. Usually it’s because the Cubs suck some of the Brewer fan base away, but this year — with the Cubs slowly but surely chipping away on the Brewers’ NL Central lead — the rivalry is intensified. Bielema should stay away, and the Brewers should give him incentive to do so. Maybe he could run in the sausage race or slide down Bernie’s slide. Or go on a date with Ryan Braun (see number 3).
7. You know who likes Michael Vick right now? NBA commissioner David Stern. Commish should send Vick a nice bouquet of roses (which reminds me . . . ). I won’t say that the Vick dogfighting story is making the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal go away, but it is stealing headlines. Maybe the NBA could market itself as a cleaner alternative to the NFL: “Hey, sure our referees are corrupt, but at least our players don’t electrocute dogs.” It could work.
8. A reminder to ESPN not to get too worked up about Major League Soccer. Sure your coverage of David Beckham’s first game became your most-viewed soccer telecast ever, with 1.5 million total viewers. Sounds impressive until you realize that the season premiere of the VH1 reality series Hogan Knows Best starring washed-up former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan scored 1.6 million viewers. And Hulk Hogan isn’t even expected to single-handedly save an entire sport.
9. If The View adds the intolerable Whoopi Goldberg to its panel, forget it. I will watch The Price Is Right instead any day of the week. Drew Carey’s not a bad choice for that show. He’s funny and he’s hosted before. But isn’t it weird that out of a largely forgettable sitcom — The Drew Carey Show — came two stars — Carey and Craig Ferguson — who have been awarded very profitable franchises on the CBS network?
10. Barry Bonds and Bob Costas are going at it. I love that Bonds feels the need to go after Costas, calling him a “little midget man who knows (nothing) about baseball.” (Well, he did write at least one book about the sport, Barry.) I’ve loved Costas since his appearance on the third anniversary of Late Night with David Letterman, during which he helped welcome to the world the official “Late Night Baby.” Check it out. Someone’s probably posted it on YouTube. Anyway, I’m on Costas’s side all the way on this one.
11. Some people say I don’t mention NASCAR or golf enough in my blog. So this one’s for those readers. I just mentioned them both. Hope this suffices.