Sometimes I wonder why I watch sports. It seems more often than not, teams I want to win lose, and vice versa. Out of the four possible Super Bowl matchups going into Sunday, San Francisco-Baltimore is the one I didn't want the most. So, of course, that's what happened.
I know some of my friends and family love the Niners. Good for them, I guess, but I have always disliked them with a passion. It's probably because they were always horrible in the 1970s when the Los Angeles Rams were good, and when the Rams started to decline, the Niners got Joe Montana, and became elite. The 49ers were really good when I was in college, and I had to hear about it all the time. And there's the whole LA-SF thing. They've also never lost a Super Bowl (5-0), so maybe I have something to root for here.
I'm not a huge fan of the Baltimore Ravens, either. I'm not from the Midwest, so I didn't take it personally when Art Modell moved his Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and became the Ravens, but it certainly isn't right. The biggest reason to hate the Ravens though, is their star player. Ray Lewis is treated like a god in Baltimore, even though he could be a murderer, and at least took part in not one, but two.
On January 31, 2000, outside a club in Atlanta (which hosted the Super Bowl), two people were stabbed to death. Lewis was there, and he and two friends jumped in a limo and took off. Lewis pleaded down to obstruction of justice, got probation and a fine, and that was it. His two friends were acquitted, although it is believed because some evidence wasn't allowed in the trial (can you say O.J.?) Anyway, Lewis was not convicted, so maybe you let him slide, but to treat him like a hero? Come on.
San Francisco-Baltimore has one great storyline, though, and that's what we'll hear about for the next two weeks. Brother vs. brother. The elder John Harbaugh for Baltimore, coaching against his little brother Jimmy for San Francisco. I don't have a brother, so I can't attest to sibling rivalry, but if we were talking about any other team, I'd be rooting for the little guy. But it's the Niners here, so go Big John. Not the greatest way to gear up for a big game, but at least its something.
Lance OWNs up: With my super cheap-o cable TV package, I didn't think that I would be able to watch the big Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah. I don't get Turner Classic Movies, or even TruTV for that matter, so why would I get the Oprah Winfrey Network? Truthfully, who would have thought I'd even be interested in the Oprah Winfrey Network? But I thought I'd take a shot when I found out about this interview, so I got the remote, dialed up to channel 220, clicked OK, and there it was. I get OWN.
The two-part, three-and-a-half-hour interview was strange. When Armstrong spoke, even though he tried to iterate that he was sorry for what he did, it didn't really come across that way. I missed the first half of the second night of the interview where he supposedly explained why he was telling his story now, after vehemently denying those cheating allegations for years. The interview itself was good, with Oprah asking all of the right questions. It was produced like a 60 Minutes piece. There were clips from Armstrong's past, and other news about doping and cycling, but Armstrong did not come across (thank goodness) like a guy you wanted to hug and say that everything is going to be all right. I actually work with a guy who is an amateur cyclist and also a cancer survivor. He told me he used Armstrong as a motivation during his treatment. Now his reaction to Armstrong's admission is nothing but disappointment.
Hockey? What hockey?: Saturday was the beginning of the lockout-shortened NHL season, and NBC had the Chicago Black Hawks-Los Angeles Kings game. I tuned in to watch the unveiling of the championship banner and all the hoopla, but instead watched a blank screen. All of my Sacramento over-the-air stations were out on my cable, and were out for several hours. I ended up watching UCLA lose to Oregon on the Chico CBS affiliate instead.
Legends lost: Baseball lost two of the game's greats over the weekend. Former Baltimore Orioles Manager Earl Weaver passed away Saturday at age 82. If the O's were the Dodgers of the American League in the 60s and 70s, Weaver was their Tommy Lasorda—always fiery and quotable. Weaver is probably remembered most for not playing 'small ball'. Why should you bunt or play hit-and-run when your guy can hit a three-run homer?, he'd always say.Also passing away Saturday was Stan Musial at age 92. I didn't get to see Musial play, but he was my father's favorite player, and as far as I know, my father's father's favorite player. The three-time MVP and Hall of Famer played his entire 22-year career (1941-1963) with the St, Louis Cardinals, had 3630 hits (1815 home, 1815 road), a lifetime batting average of .331 and hit 475 home runs. He also missed the 1945 season because he was serving in World War Two. Pet Peeve: His last name is pronouced (MYOO-zee-uhl), not (MYOO-zhu-al, rhyming with usual).
Dethroned: I still won't believe it until they play a game there, but it looks more and more like the Sacramento Kings will move after this season. The NBA has confirmed that team owners have agreed to sell the club, which will be moved to Seattle, likely by next season, and be named the Supersonics. I spent the club's first 11 years in Sacramento as the radio statistician, so I will hate to see them go. It makes total sense from a league standpoint, however. Seattle lost their old team because they couldn't get a new arena, but now have a deal in place. Sacramento can't get a new arena, either. Sacramento mayor (and former NBA player) Kevin Johnson has permission from the league to seek another offer to keep the Kings in town, but even though there are supposedly local buyers that are interested, it is doubtful they will be able to match Seattle's price of a reported 525 million dollars. If the Kings in Sacramento were on life support before, it appears the plug is to be pulled at any moment.
More hoops: I'm back on the air doing high school play-by-play. KNCO is doing 16 games covering two high schools. Station manager and long time area play-by-play voice Tom Fitzsimmons is calling boys and girls games for Bear River High, and has assigned me Nevada Union High School. The girls are very good and could win a section title. I haven't done a boys game yet, but they are supposed to be competitive.