One Great Season
+ I've written before about how ESPN and others should show more gestures of sportsmanship during their game broadcasts. The postgame handshake line in college basketball is an easy target, and especially considering the NCAA has a weak ad campaign promoting the importance of sportsmanlike behavior, you'd think there would be a clause drawn into those billion-dollar television contracts. I bring this up because near the end of Jon Gruden's segment with Jake Locker the other day, I watched outstanding video of Locker and his teammates sharing emotional embraces after Washington won its bowl game a few months ago. No one was miked up, but the photographer was close enough to pick up neat bits of audio from Locker's mammoth offensive linemen who told him how much they appreciated that he came back for his senior year, how proud they were of him for reaching his goal of a bowl win. One even wished him luck at the next level. These weren't your typical "nice-game" postgame hugs. These were real, human moments, the kind that need to be shown as often as possible. For Locker, this postgame was a simultaneous culmination and coronation. He led a Washington team back from the dead, a squad that went 0-12 in 2008, won five games with a new coach in 2009, then welcomed the NFL-ready Locker back for one more season. Those hugs, those friendships, that bowl win made it all worth it for Locker. At least that's my guess from the video I watched.
+ The Jim Tressel debacle in Columbus continues to get ugly, and I think this will be his last season at Ohio State. But one thing OSU critics need to realize is this: The Tatgate/email scandal obviously will be his undoing, and by all means, blast him — shoot, fire him — for the deceitful cover-up. Those who rip him for trying to falsely project a squeaky-clean image, however, are idiots. He doesn't wear a tie or a vest or eyeglasses or speak with a calm demeanor to throw off NCAA investigators. That's just the way he rolls. What should he do? Stencil in "We Cheat" on his scarlet-and-gray vest? Get "Liars" tattooed (at a discount, of course) across his forehead? I've read so much hate on Twitter, some of it legitimate; most of it ridiculous. Tressel's actions are deserving of all the criticism you can muster, but keep your eye on the ball. It's called cheating and will likely lead to Tressel's termination, but it has nothing to do with his wardrobe.
+ The current issue of ESPN The Magazine is an outstanding one. This year, the Mag has put out issues devoted to style, fiction and bodies that were all pretty solid. And this week's "All About The Money" book is a great read from cover to cover. Stories look at where/how ballers party during or after the season, what kind of planes they charter to get there, how pawn dealers assist in a jock's quest to continue the lifestyle and how money changes the people in an athlete's entourage. My favorite reads were an interview with Kevin Love, who tells how he's been saving in advance of a possible NBA lockout, and another story called "How To Scam An Athlete In 10 Uneasy Steps." If you don't have ESPN Insider access online and don't get the electronic version for free, I suggest picking up a hard copy at your local newsstand for five bucks.
+ Perhaps the most annoying expression in sports television is "We're gonna go Samsung Next Level."
+ "60 Minutes" didn't mean to get involved in the Los Angeles Dodgers' ownership fiasco. But during Sunday night's story about LA billionaire Eli Broad, as Morley Safer interviewed him on a downtown street adjacent to the beautiful Walt Disney Concert Hall that Broad helped build, a motorist passing by shouted out to Broad that he needed to step in and buy the Dodgers. The moment was brief, but great spontaneity nonetheless. Now there are reports that former Dodger great Steve Garvey is part of an investment team that could step in and take control.