From The Cheap Seats
"There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time or the last time.
I owe him my best." -- Joe DiMaggio
That quote, or some variation of it, is my favorite part of Joe D's legend. It's been attributed to him at various points, under various circumstances, but I'm confident he said it, or something very close to it. It shows the kind of attitude you wish more athletes had today.
Not that Joe's love of the game and the fans overwhelmed his economic interests; he once held out past opening day, all the while being attacked by the Yankees and the press for his greed. In that sense, he was a modern athlete, despite all the god-like qualities being imparted to him.
Still, he had the kind of class without flash which gave him an intergenerational appeal. We've come a long way from Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe to Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra.
Speaking of Marilyn, she went to Korea to visit the troops, where she was greeted warmly, as you might expect. Upon returning, she had this conversation with Joe: "It was amazing, Joe, there were 50,000 of them, all cheering for me. You never heard anything like it." "Yes I have, Marilyn, yes I have."
Time for one last ovation as the Yankee Clipper sails into the sunset.
Men's tennis is in nearly complete disarray. For years now, the tour has been dividing into hard court and clay specialists, making the overall rankings, and the seedings based on them, meaningless. We could always count on Pete Sampras though, as he was capable of restoring order on a regular basis. Now that's far less certain, as he's a threat to lose in the first or second round anywhere. It seems to require a five-set match for him to assert any level of dominance. The tour is starting to look more and more like the PGA, where any time one of the two or three best actually wins a tournament, it's time for celebration. The bad thing is that tennis isn't golf, if Sampras loses in the second round, the gallery can't come out the next day, hoping for a comeback. It's about one on one matchups, and there's a limited audience, especially in this country, for finals between Thomas Enqvist and Chris Hinman. Players move up and down the rankings on a weekly basis and it's hard to concentrate. Wake me for Wimbledon.
The coverage of Nascar racing is increasing steadily on ESPN and in the LA Times. The big question is why. It seems like three quarters of the races are won by Jeff Gordon, which is hardly surprising, since he's the best driver and has the fastest car. On a national basis, it gets very bad ratings, even worse in major markets, and the only things you can sell to its audience are spark plugs and chewing tobacco. Oh well, they don't make me watch it and there are lots of channels.
I watched some fights on HBO Saturday, both fights were entertaining, as former Olympic gold medallist David Reid won his first World Championship belt. The problem with watching fighting on HBO is that they insist on using George Foreman as their color man, I assume because no one has the guts to fire him. He is the worst announcer I've ever heard, not just in terms of articulation, but in terms of analysis. He decides on the strategy he thinks will work, then attacks the fighters for not following it. Even if the fighter is kicking the living daylights out of his opponent, George will criticize him and predict his demise. At one point in one of the fights, Larry Merchant finally had to interrupt Foreman's babbling to point out that the object of his derision was completely dominating the fight. Occasionally, when George finds his predictions wrong, George will completely contradict his previous positions. Add to that the need to talk constantly and you have a really pointless addition to the fine team of Lampley and Merchant. Maybe they can hire Evander Holyfield to tell George his services are no longer required.
In the words of Paul Simon..
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you, oo-oo-oo?
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson, Joltin' Joe has left and gone away, hey-hey-hey, hey-hey-hey…
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