Posted: Monday May 30, 2005 10:29AM; Updated: Sunday June 5, 2005 3:47PM
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I know I heard some fans saying I should give up the number. ... That feels like somebody saying, 'Hey man, let your neighbor use your wife.'" -- Denver wide receiver Rod Smith, on Sirius NFL Radio, on the prospect of giving up his No. 80 to Jerry Rice.
Wisely, Rice did not ask for the number when he signed with Denver last week.
STAT OF THE WEEK
This is more a commentary on our apparent (though I'm not sure we really are) obsession with statistics in American sports.
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
I am a fan of the Newark Star-Ledger, one of the best sports sections in America. And I do not to pick on the paper, because this could have been (and probably was) in several metropolitan New York newspapers on Sunday. But it is a perfect example of what drives me crazy about stats in sports. This from the "Mets Notebook,'' about New York's 1-0 win over the Marlins on Friday night in Miami:
"According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Friday's game marked the fifth time since 1990 that a 1-0 game ended with neither team having issued a walk.''
Stats that matter are ones that make you say: Wow, that made a difference in the outcome of the game. Or wow, that's an amazing stat. This is neither. Why not a similar figure for all games that have ended 2-1 since 1990, or 8-7, or 6-3? It is one of probably 79 stats in the Sunday papers across America that have absolutely no significance or wow factor. I beg you, sportswriters of America: Use stats that matter or amaze. Bury the rest.
I'll give you a stat.
In the 13 innings between the start of Saturday's Sox-Yanks game and the end of the fourth inning of Sunday's game, the 2-3-4 combo platter of EdgarRenteria, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz batted .900 (18-for-20).
AGGRAVATING/ENJOYABLE TRAVEL NOTE OF THE WEEK
Made the long road trip into Manhattan for the premiere of The Longest Yard last week. (I play a rotund sportswriter and am on the screen for about nine seconds, which brought back memories of my Monday Night Football halftime gig. Same fame. Same window of time.) I enjoyed the movie. Really liked Nelly as the running back. Liked Michael Irvin a lot. Fun experience. Great music. I guess I don't know movies, though. The reviews that landed on my doorstep basically savaged the movie, saving their best shots for Chris Rock and AdamSandler. I guess they're used to it, but were they really that bad to deserve this?
New York Times: "Chris Rock ... assumed the humiliating job of playing second banana to a less-gifted comedic talent.'' The review said his role was "a crude ploy to lure in black audiences.'' Sandler, the review said, "has never been cool ... Sandler needs more off-center roles if he is going to transcend his rapidly aging frat-boy persona.''
Wall Street Journal: Called Rock "thoroughly insufferable. Mr. Rock, stuck in standup-comic mode, declaims his lines with a shrillness that's scary.''
Newark Star-Ledger: "Like Billy Madison, Big Daddy and most of Sandler's other movies, it's pretty stupid ... The movie remains squarely aimed at uptight suburban white boys (which means that blacks are either scary or silly, gays are always so-so-so over the top, and real women are too alien a concept to even discuss). Throughout, Sandler -- about as likely an actor to play a former pro quarterback as Ben Stiller --plays it safe, and plays to his ever-faithful fans. Which is why they're faithful, and why he's rich ... Burt Reynolds, looking oddly blank around the eyes -- it's as if someone turned his face into a pencil sketch, and then started erasing it -- shows up for old-timers'-sake as a grizzled con.''
I bet if I sidled up to the well-guarded Rock and Sandler at the movie and asked them if they'd be looking forward to the reviews, they'd have rolled their eyes and said something football players say all the time: "I never read the papers and I don't listen to the radio.''
FACTOID THAT MAY INTEREST ONLY ME
When one of the most troubled former football players of our lifetime, ToddMarinovich, was arrested in California last week for possession of drug paraphernalia, he listed his occupation as "unemployed artist.''