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Shooting from the lip

The list

One mouthed off about the local team. Another left town. And the rest are coming off like a bunch of spoiled brats. Here's this week's list of those not particularly embraced these days by Tampa Bay sports fans.

Carl Crawford

Look, it's hard to have any ill will for the former Rays leftfielder. While with the Rays, Crawford played hard and played with class. Even when he left Tampa Bay, he did so, for the most part, with dignity and grace. But if you're a Rays fan and watched Thursday's spring training game between the Rays and Red Sox on Sun Sports, it was hard to stomach seeing Crawford wearing a Red Sox uniform. During a shot of Crawford warming up in the outfield, Sun Sports play-by-play man Dewayne Staats said, "There's no question that is a sight that will take some getting used to.''

One can hardly blame Crawford for taking the big money. Just about anyone would leave their job for a higher-paying one somewhere else. Boston was willing to pay Crawford the kind of money Tampa Bay wasn't. Still, Rays fans are going to wince every time they see Crawford this season — stealing bases for the Sox, making spectacular catches in the shadow of the Green Monster, and high-fiving the likes of David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia.

Bruce Boudreau

The Capitals coach is known for two things. One: his impressive use of profanity during the HBO series 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic. The other is being behind the bench of a team that chokes away Game 7 playoff games at home. Now he is known — at least in these parts — for taking shots at a couple of Lightning players. Boudreau, left, called forwards Steven Stamkos and Steve Downie divers this week. That is, they fake being hooked, held and tripped.

It's one thing to try to fire up your team or plant a seed in the referees' heads or even say something to get under the skin of an opposing player. But it's another to call out an honest player such as Stamkos. For nearly three seasons now, Stamkos has played the game the right way. He works hard. He's humble. He has shown respect for the game on and off the ice. He doesn't deserve someone, especially someone who doesn't play and was not much of an NHLer when he did play, saying something so insulting.

NFL owners and players

If we were playing word association and someone said, "NFL labor situation,'' the first word that would come into our head would be "annoying.''

It's annoying that a bunch of billionaires are fighting with millionaires on how to divide up money. It's annoying that we can't see NHL highlights on SportsCenter because so much air time is wasted on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and union leader DeMaurice Smith walking down the street while some reporter babbles on about details none of us really care about. It's annoying that no matter how this works out, ticket prices for the fans are going to continue to increase.

Around here, it's annoying that the Bucs are coming off a stunning turnaround season, but momentum going into next season could be lost because of a lockout. Most of all, it's annoying that instead of thinking how great next season might be around here, we are wondering if there is even going to be a next season.

Documentary of the day

HBO Sports' latest documentary — Runnin' Rebels of UNLV, about the UNLV men's basketball team and controversial coach Jerry Tarkanian — makes its debut Saturday night at 9:30. The doc looks at the period from 1973 to 1992, with particular attention paid to 1990 and 1991, when Tarkanian assembled one of the greatest college teams of all time.

UNLV crushed Duke 103-73 in the 1990 national championship game. In the piece, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "We could have played them 20 times, and we wouldn't have beaten them in any of the games.''

UNLV was 34-0 when the teams met again in the 1991 semifinals. Duke pulled off a 79-77 upset.

"We lost a heartbreaker,'' Tarkanian said. "It was the toughest loss I ever had.''

Schedule of the day

The NFL Network's Arena Football Friday kicks off at 8 tonight with the Philadelphia Soul taking on the Pittsburgh Power. It's the first of the network's 23-game schedule of 20 regular-season games, two playoff games and ArenaBowl XXIV.

The Storm is on the schedule for four telecasts: April 1 against Jacksonville, April 15 against Philadelphia, May 6 against Orlando and June 17 against Orlando.

The NFL Network's announcers include Solomon Wilcots, Charles Davis, Trent Green and Brian Baldinger.

Media tidbits

• CBS's 60 Minutes is planning a story on Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. Correspondent Bob Simon did an extensive interview with Pujols this week, and the show has spent several months reporting the story, which included a trip to the Dominican Republic. The story is expected to air in April.

• ESPN will unveil the 64-team NCAA Division I women's basketball bracket at 7 p.m. Monday. Trey Wingo will host the show with analysis from Kara Lawson, Carolyn Peck, Doris Burke and Rebecca Lobo. ESPNU will offer extended coverage of the bracket at 8 p.m. This is the 20th consecutive year ESPN has announced the women's bracket.

• Sandy Shaw, longtime public-address announcer for the Tigers at their spring training home in Lakeland, died Tuesday. He was 81. He also served in the front office of the Florida State League's Lakeland Flying Tigers.

• DirecTV announced it will carry truTV's NCAA Tournament games in high definition. DirecTV was supposed to launch an HD version of the channel later this year but hurried the process to carry the tournament games in HD.

• According to reports, top ESPN production executives met with Olympic broadcasting types in Madrid this week, a sign ESPN is interested in bidding for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Three things that popped into my head

1. A round of applause for Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice. He had every right to tear into the officials who completely bungled his team's chance at upsetting St. John's in the Big East tournament Wednesday. Instead, he handled it with class and even said, "We have the greatest officials in America.''

2. Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel sitting on information that his players were doing something illegal is serious stuff and deserves more than the piddly two-game suspension handed down by the school. And, oh, Ohio State fans have lost the right to say Tressel and the program do things "the right way.'' Maybe this would be a good time for current and former players to drop that arrogant "Thee'' when they say, "Thee Ohio State University.''

3. Lightning fans might not have liked Caps star Alex Ovechkin showboating after his shootout goal on Monday. But man, that guy is fun to watch, and his personality only makes the NHL better.

St. Petersburg Times staff writer Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

Shooting from the lip 03/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2011 11:07pm]
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