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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Pass the SpaghettiOs, please



Shooting from the Lip
Looking back at weekend of televised sports ...

Spaghettios Some weekends in sports just aren't that good. It's like dinner. You can't eat a juicy steak every night. Some nights, Hamburger Helper or SpaghettiOs is all there is.

This was a Chef Boyardee weekend. (I know Campbell's makes SpaghettiOs ... you get my point.) Anyway, I tried to watch TV this weekend, but every time I did, I just couldn't find anything worth watching, especially with the Rays doing the "turn back the clock'' thing. But instead of actually wearing uniforms from five years ago, they just decided to play like they did five years ago. Golf interest is taking a breather a week before the British Open and Tiger Woods isn't playing. The next best tennis match won't be until Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet in the U.S. Open final in early September. Rays NASCAR is becoming boring with Kyle Busch winning every week in a race with 230 cautions. The Brett Favre story is already maddening. And, finally, the Rays' losing streak just put a damper on everything.

Ah, that's it. The Rays. The Rays' losing streak ruined the weekend. And that's the point. The Rays have made this summer fun in Tampa Bay. They don't have to win the division or even win the wild card to make the rest of the summer worth watching. Just keep it close. Just win enough to play meaningful games in September. Just stay in the race. Or least hang around until football season starts.

Goal of the day
Rays TV pointed out that heading into Sunday's game at Cleveland, the Rays were averaging 4.6 runs a game, which was the exact  number of runs per game the Rays averaged through the All-Star break last season when they were 34-53. And that's not enough, according to Rays TV analyst Joe Magrane.

"I think to consistently be successful in the second half,'' Magrane said, "they're going to have to average about five-and-a-half runs scored … to really have any chance to go into the postseason.''

The Rays seem to have the "half'' part down. Now about the other five runs per game …

Josh Best player
Not to beat the Rays while they're down, but geez, you just have to keep bringing up the amazing season being turned in by former Ray Josh Hamilton. He has 95 RBIs at the All-Star break. You can't help but wonder how he would look batting fourth and playing rightfield for the Rays.

Hope of the weekend
Oh, don't give up on the Rays just yet. ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips gave his second-half predictions and still picked the Rays to win the American League wild card.

Favre Biggest rumor
I guess we have to talk about Brett Favre. Word on the street -- actually, the words coming out of the mouth of ESPN football insider John Clayton -- is the Bucs are one of three teams in the running for not-quite-yet-former NFL quarterback. Well, that's if the Favre does play another season and the Packers decide to trade him. Clayton said the leading contenders to acquire Favre in a trade are the Bucs, Ravens and Dolphins. Clayton said two other teams -- the Jets and Panthers -- have been crossed off the list. Meantime, radio announcer Bill Michaels, from WTMJ in Milwaukee, said not all of Wisconsin is as fired up as you might think about a possible Favre return. Michaels told ESPN, "Brett has used up a lot of good will in this state.''

Shave Two things I'm tired of
1. Guys getting hit in the face with shaving cream during a post-game television interview after a "walk-off'' homer or "walk-off''’ single or whatever.
2. The term "walk-off.''’ Seemed like baseball did okay for about 100 years without that phrase.

Badly timed show
This Week in Baseball  caught a bad break. It was one week too late on the Rays bandwagon. Saturday's show was dedicated to the Rays, who were in the midst of a seven-game-and-counting losing streak.

Refs Best feature
ESPN's Outside the Lines had a strong feature on how some NBA referees might be getting a little too chummy with players and coaches. Though a little weak on identifying sources and exact people involved, the show claimed a referee once asked Michael Jordan for a pair of game-worn shoes, that another referee would bring cookies to a particular coach, that asking for autographs is routine and that many coaches have cellphone numbers for officials. Several former respected referees -- Jake O’Donnell, Mike Mathis and Hue Hollins -- were outspoken in their disgust of the behavior of current referees. The NBA recently hired Ronald L. Johnson, a two-star general who recently retired from active duty, to investigate and oversee the NBA's officiating program.

Biggest missed story
Paula Creamer, below, shoots a 60, and we didn't see it? ESPN2 covered three days of the LPGA's four-day Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic . And yet the one day they don't show was the best day to see it.

Most misplaced point
Bill Rhoden of the New York Times is one of the finest sports columnists in the country and often brings solid points to ESPN's Sports Reporters. But his "parting shot'' on Sunday's show, while well meant, was a bit misplaced. He criticized the Rooney Family, owners of the Steelers, for owning dog tracks. Rhoden's stance on dog and horse racing is well known. He thinks it should be abolished, and I agree with that. However, Rhoden compared the Rooney's involvement in dog racing to Michael Vick's involvement in dog fighting and then criticized the NFL for "two-faced justice at its worst'' because the Rooneys have not been reprimanded. While dog racing might ultimately be cruel to many dogs, there's a big difference between dog racing and dog fighting. For example, one is legal and the other isn't.

Best quote
"The greatest athlete I've ever seen.''
-- Wayne Gretzky, who wasn't a bad little athlete himself, talking about Tiger Woods during Saturday's coverage of the American Century (celebrity golf) championship on NBC.

Funniest line
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe columnist, on ESPN's Sports Reporters: "I'm shocked — shocked! A doping scandal at the Tour de France? Next thing you’re going to tell me is Brett Favre is coming back.''

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:42pm]


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