Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Bit of Introduction

By Samuel Berman
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Since it would seem that we’re about to get to know each other, I figured it would be appropriate to begin my tenure here on Express Milwaukee with a bit of an introduction.  I have found that most sports fans have a core set of beliefs that color and shade the way they watch each passing game and analyze every new story.  I am no different.  Seeing as this blog is going to feature my thoughts and feelings on the world of sports, it seems only fair to let you in on my core set of sports beliefs.  These are in no particular order:

 

·        I root for the Brewers, Bucks, Packers, Wisconsin Badgers and Maryland Terrapins above all others.

·        The next tier of teams I cheer are the Cleveland Indians, Phoenix Suns, New England Patriots, Marquette Warriors and Texas Longhorns.  I also have an affinity for the Atlanta Braves and Houston Texans, mostly due to having friends that support them.

·        I am indeed that unique sort of fan who dislikes Duke AND North Carolina.  In regards to Duke, you can safely assume that ‘dislike’ can just as easily be read as ‘hate’.  And as a tangent, I really don’t like Dick Vitale either.

·        I believe Shawn Kemp is the most unfairly misremembered player in recent NBA history.  Everyone seems to forget his awesome Reign Man persona from his Seattle days, choosing instead to focus on his later (read: fatter) years in Cleveland and beyond.  Joining Kemp in this list are Mitch Richmond (a fast-track Hall of Fame guy until he was traded to Washington in a deal that revitalized the Kings and essentially ended the Rock’s career), Kevin Johnson (point guard on one of the best non-champion teams in NBA history), Larry Johnson (whose legacy is now the infamous four-point-play, but should include his UNLV run and the “Grandmama” Converse commercials that took hype to a new level), and Glen Rice (whose insane All Star Game performance and second-half run in 1997 prove just how good he could be (remember, Michael Jordan had a triple-double in that All Star Game and STILL wasn’t the MVP)).

·        I firmly believe that Lynn Greer could average 20 points per game in the NBA if he was given a consistent job as a starter.

·        I was never swept up in the notion that Johnny Newman, Blue Edwards, John Jaha or Dave Nilsson were good players, even if they were the best players on a Milwaukee team at one point.  Remember, being a hometown fan doesn’t mean you have to be an idiot.

·        The best sporting event I have attended live is Game 7 of the Bucks vs. Charlotte Eastern Conference Semifinal series in 2001.  This is closely followed by #3 Maryland beating #1 Duke at Cole Field House in 2002 and the Packers’ recent playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks.

·        The greatest athlete of all time is Wilt Chamberlain.

·        The most important athlete of all time is Muhammad Ali.

·        The greatest athlete I have ever seen play in person is Brett Favre, with Barry Sanders running a close second.

·        I maintained that the best team in my lifetime to NOT win a title was the ‘95-96 Seattle Sonics until this past year’s Patriots blew it in the Super Bowl.  Still, that Sonics team, featuring Kemp, Payton, Schrempf (who was basically the prototype for Dirk Nowitzki), Hersey Hawkins, a young Ervin Johnson, and the ageless Sam Perkins, was just a deadly force, whose only error was running into a record-setting Bulls team.  High on the ‘great non-champions’ list are the ’92-93 Suns and the 2001 Seattle Mariners.  Honestly, Seattle has had some crazy sports teams over the years.  If you add Washington and Gonzaga basketball into the mix, those fans have suffered some serious heartbreak in the last decade or so.

·        The five athletes I’m always willing to spend my own money to see are Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Johan Santana, and Prince Fielder.  Brett Favre is an honorary lifetime member of this list as well, but, well, you know…

·        I don’t watch NASCAR and cannot be convinced that it is a sport.  I do watch poker, but similarly cannot be convinced that it is a sport.

·        I am convinced that soccer is a sport, but I don’t like it, and it’s not because I “don’t get it”, it’s because soccer is a mind-numbing bore.

·        I wish every Sportscenter was anchored by some combination of Scott Van Pelt, Neil Everett and John Buccigross.

·        I don’t care about steroids in baseball, football, hockey, soccer, basket-weaving, horse shoes, jai-alai or cricket.  And especially in baseball, where using steroids doesn’t make the bat bigger or the ball move slower.  Furthermore, congress taking time during the middle of a war to investigate whether or not David Segui’s testicles still work is just irresponsible.

·        The only player the Bucks shouldn’t trade this off season is Andrew Bogut.  Everyone else is replaceable.

·        Though I don’t personally like him or his team, Tim Duncan is the best player in the NBA and I’m tired of hearing people spout arias about Kobe and LeBron.  Until either of them LEADS multiple title teams (and note that I said ‘leads’ not ‘rides Shaq’s coattails on…’), they’ve got to take a backseat to the Big Fundamental.  Two years ago, you would have found me replacing ‘Tim Duncan’ with ‘Shaquille O’Neal’.

·        The two sports writers I make a point to read are Bill Simmons and Scoop Jackson, as much because of their individual writing as because they provide such different windows into the world of sports.  If you don’t already read them, you should.  Also, the sports world would be a better place if Ralph Wiley were still alive.

·        The best sports movies are actually the well-made documentaries and not the fictionalized versions of reality that so many people like.  Specifically, I recommend renting both “When We Were Kings” and “Hoop Dreams”.

·        I’m a professional wrestling fan and think that professional sports would be a lot more interesting if the two were a little more similar.  I could expand on this, but I’m going to save that for a future post.

·        Jim Boeheim’s run at Syracuse is the most impressive by anyone currently coaching in sports.

·        I’ve been to upwards of twenty-five baseball parks in my life and I’m not lying when I say that I like Miller Park the best of all of them.  Second is Jacobs Field in Cleveland and third is Camden Yards in Baltimore.

·        The only unbreakable record in sports is Cy Young’s 511 wins.  Everything else is negotiable.

·        The best name in sports is Rock Cartwright.  He’s a fullback for the Redskins.

·        College coaches should have to wait a year when switching schools just like their players do.

·        Going to a baseball game, ordering a brat and peanuts and then following that up by getting a Miller Lite instead of an MGD is silly.  I mean, seriously, THAT’S where you’re trying to cut calories?

·        The best day of the year is opening day.

 

 

 

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