Be Careful What You Wish For

by John Furgele

For this week, we will look at various items, and we will start with the NBA.  Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose is making waves because of an allegation that somebody else took his SAT exam before he enrolled at Memphis.  And, to nobody’s surprise, John Calipari was the coach at Memphis when this alleged violation took place.  Even though Calipari has been cleared of any wrongdoing, it is fairly clear that Rose was not exactly college material, and once again, it shows Calipari’s—and all others—penchant for winning at any cost. 

But, the real shame goes to the NBA.  This is what you get with the silly rule that one must be one year past his high school gradutation to play in the NBA.  All this does is force kids that shouldn’t go to a college and pretend that their students for one year.  The NBA and the NCAA hide under the fact that playing in college helps both college basketball and better prepares the player for life in the NBA.  You and I both know that’s bull.

The Detroit Red Wings are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second straight year in the Stanley Cup Finals, and for the second straight year, it looks like the Wings are much better than the Pens.  Many thought that the more mature Penguins would give Detroit all they could handle and some even believe that they can win, but through Games 1 and 2, it looks like we’re watching a replay of the 2008 final.  Detroit has won both games by 3-1 scores and the Pens don’t look like a team that will generate enough scoring to beat Detroit—again.  But, before we write off the Pens, let’s see how they do on home ice.  I firmly believe that a series doesn’t truly begin until the road team wins a game and if Pittsburgh can hold serve, then we may have an interesting series.  But, my gut tells me that Detroit takes a game in Pittsburgh and closes things out in five. 

Superfilly Rachel Alexandra will be skipping this week’s Belmont Stakes, and while they may upset some, it is the right call.  Could Rachel beat the boys again—of course, but she has raced five times already this year and deserves a rest.  She already proved that she could win a big one when she dominated the Preakness (she led at every fraction after the 1/4 mile), and she doesn’t need to injure himself. 

As for Mine That Bird, he’ll have Calvin Borel riding him again, and Borel has already guaranteed a Belmont win.  Because he’s a gelding, MTB can do nothing but run and kudos to his owners and trainers for letting him run again this week.    They could easily save him for races later in the summer and fall, but they’re trying to win a second Triple Crown race.  Personally, I will be rooting for Mine That Bird, but the Belmont is the ultimate meat grinder.  It is an enormous track and can swallow up even the best of colts, geldings and fillies.  It ate up Smarty Jones, who came up 1/16 short in 2004; it engulfed Big Brown, one of the biggest fraud horses of all time in 2008; and took down the likes of Spectacular Bid (1979) and many others.  There has been one horse who swallowed Belmont Park and that was the one and only Secretariat in 1973.  His time of 2:24.0 for the 1 1/2 mile race is still the record—by two full seconds.

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