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TWENTY-NINE FLOORS ABOVE BOSTON'S BACK BAY -- I must confess: I had a late night on Monday. A very, very, very late night. I'd finished hosting my Monday Night Football pregame radio show, and stopped by a local watering hole to meet colleagues (and fellow Bloggers) Chris Ballard and Danny Habib for a quick adult beverage. It's a rare Monday that we're all in town and free, and so we took advantage. And then 1 a.m. became 2 a.m., and, well ... you all know how this movie ends. (Not soon, and not pretty.)
Right around the time Seattle was giving away yet another win (and the 'Hawks should be ashamed), I vaguely recall that we started talking about the steroid mess. I probably gave it to Ballard -- a Giants' fan's Giants' fan -- about Barry Bonds' fraudulent greatness, and I'm fairly certain he countered with a sports-are-just-entertainment argument that you probably read last Monday. Word has it Habib took a centrist stance, and with that, we' all agreed that one thing was certain: We'd had our last conversation about Barry Bonds for the time being.
In short, we're sick of talking or hearing about him, now and for some time. Yes, the 24-hour news hole is an insatiably hungry beast, but there are subjects about which we must stop discussing. So I've compiled a list -- partial, to be sure -- of things I hope to not hear about for a very, very, very long time. The list doesn't reflect any personal feeling about the people involved. And yes, I realize I'm just spitting into the wind. Still, I'm just done caring about these things.
1. Kobe Bryant: By now, we've had more than enough time to decide how we feel about Bryant as a person and player (and coach, GM, and frequent visitor to the Eagle County courthouse). I don't need to hear every detail of his every interview about Shaq or Phil or Karl breathlessly spoon-fed to me, like there's news being broken. 'Cause they're ain't. Enough, already.
2. Barry Bonds' HR-record chase: Asking not to hear about his continued immersion in the steroid scandal would be folly. But I refuse to stand (or sit) for any more references to the "great" Barry Lamar Bonds' "assault" on Hank Aaron's career mark. Because that's what his continued recognition as a baseball player constitutes -- an assault on history, on records set without the (alleged) use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Don't tell me he was great before the creams and liquids; I remember. But he's not that person anymore -- and hasn't been for a long time, by the looks of him. So don't ask me to discuss, or in any way celebrate, a fraud.
3. Notre Dame:Mark Mangino said no to them. So did Bobby Petrino. You've never heard of either one, which is exactly the point. No coach can make things right for a program that's gotten old fast. But haven't we known this for a long, long time -- really, ever since Lou Holtz left? Only institutional adjustments -- to admission standards, to coaches' pay scales, to the cruel realities of the 21st Century -- will burnish the Dome anew. And while the Irish are at it, they should beg the Big 10 to take make some room at the inn, or come national-title time, they'll be on the outside looking in for years to come.
4. The Heisman: Of the last 15 winners of the most overrated award in sports, just three have played in a Pro Bowl. Which means one thing: Very often, the best college football player hasn't been anywhere near the Downtown Athletic Club when they were giving the damn thing away. And how absurd is this year's race, with two sets of teammates among the five finalists? Two sets of chicken-or-the-egg, vote-splitting nightmare scenarios. And how legit can the award be, when one defensive player has won the thing, ever. And when no lineman have ever won the thing, ever. Talk about signifying nothing. Or better yet, let's not.
5. Lindsay Lohan/Olsen twins: I want my Page Six back, without references to these no-talent hacks. Is it just me, or do the twins look like toddlers playing dress-up with Mom's clothes?
So tell me: Other than my opinions, what are you folks sick of hearing? I'll go to the Mailbag next week with some answers. I also want to thank all the 'Baggers who wrote in last week re: the college football playoff.
NFL'S TOP FIVE (OR SIX) TEAMS (BECAUSE I SAID SO)
Submit a comment or question for Josh.
1. Pittsburgh (11-1)
2. New England (11-1)
3. Philadelphia (11-1)
4. San Diego (9-3)
5. Indianapolis (9-3)
6. N.Y. Jets (9-3)
Dropped out: Atlanta (9-3)
If you want the list with explanations, just e-mail me and I'll send it to you.
UCSB MEN'S SOCCER UPDATE (BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT)
My BCS rant last week pushed my boys out of the Blog, but they are back. And how. Despite their inexplicable No. 9 NCAA playoff seed (after finishing the regular season No. 1 in two polls), the Gauchos won their opening game, then beat UNC Greensboro 1-0 on the road (playing down a man for 84 minutes), and returned home for the biggest game in the sport's SB history, against Virginia Commonwealth last Saturday, for a berth in this weekend's College Cup (read: Final Four).
I was tough on the SB community earlier this year for not supporting the best team to grace the school's Edenic shores. I'd say they figured it out, since almost 11,000 people showed up -- more than ten times their normal draw. And what a game they saw. After letting VCU get up 1-0 early, the boys dominated play, evening the score by halftime, taking a 2-1 lead midway through the second half, and putting the game out of reach with a third goal minutes before the end. And when that glorious end arrived (and not the one provided by the streaker who briefly commandeered the Harder Stadium pitch), bedlam reigned. The field was rushed, and the throng -- in a fit of madness that I cannot endorse (not officially, anyway) -- picked up one of the goals and carried it around the pitch ... and then all the way out of the stadium ... and down El Colegio Road, to the cliffs of Del Playa, where moments before the goal was sacrificed to the gods of the roaring Pacific, sanity returned.
Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, one delirious alum stared at his laptop -- where the KCSB webcast had just played out -- and almost cried. At 1:18 ET, the phone rang. "This is unbelievable," said the Gauchos' hoarse, delirious 'keeper, Danny Kennedy. "Just two more to go. Let people know we're going to do it." So there you go. They've got unranked Duke tomorrow night -- I'll be webcasting once again -- for a spot in the title game, and a shot at the school's first national championship in a quarter-century. Godspeed, boys.
It's 12:49 a.m., and I'm tired after commuting to Boston, and in a few hours I'll rise and drive to Foxborough to break bread with Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who seems to make a game-winning play every other week. This week, he and his boys host Carson Palmer, Ravens-killer. My condolences, young Mr. Ravens-killer.