Good time’s never been so good? Not this year, Caroline. With the Boston Red Sox out of the picture, the baseball playoffs suddenly became just as riveting as the Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game Monday night. The century-old rivalry between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees is good for baseball no matter what people west of the Mississippi River tell you. To try to assign any moral importance to sports is a horrible mistake. Sports are about money and nearly nothing else.
According to the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania, the Red Sox have sold out more than 220 straight games and were the top-drawing road team in Major League Baseball for the first time in team history. The seven Yankees-Sox games that were broadcast on ESPN this season attracted 60 percent more viewers than the network’s average audience.
But the Sox are still not the Yankees. At the beginning of the year, fans nationwide claimed the downfall of the Yankees was imminent. They were seven games out of first and the Sox were cruising. But once again, the tables have turned. To ignore the mystique of the Yankees dynasty is as dumb as paying attention to preseason basketball rankings.
It is time to put all of the conjecture to rest. The college basketball rankings released on numerous commentary Web sites are fun to talk about with friends, but mean less than unrecognized fraternities. A few months ago, for example, the University of Connecticut was the consensus No. 1 team in the country for the 2005-2006 season. One prediction that the pundits could not make was Marcus Williams and A.J. Price getting caught stealing laptops from fellow students on the UConn campus. Now the Huskies will have freshmen Craig Austrie and Robert Garrison running the point.
The GW squad, which is also missing a point guard in the recently graduated TJ Thompson, has got some love recently. The Colonials were ranked No. 20 in the Draft Express preseason top – 40 poll in addition to being highly regarded in other polls. According to the site, the Colonials need to show more consistency before they are capable of making a “big splash in March.” While I am going to stay away from making sweeping statements about the Colonials’ success this year, freshmen Montrell McDonald, Noel Wilmore and Rob Diggs have Rob Diggs have looked pretty good in the Health and Wellness Center gym this fall.
In addition to the meaningless ranking, Washington Post staff writer Ivan Carter also gave GW a shout out on his blog from the Washington Wizards’ training camp in Richmond, Va. Carter, last year’s beat writer for GW basketball, revealed that Dan Steinberg will inherit the beat.
“By the way, that is going to be a very nasty college basketball team this season in Foggy Bottom. The only player gone from last year’s tourney team is PG TJ Thompson. With Pops, Mike Hall, Omar Williams, J.R. Pinnock and Carl Elliot back, there won’t be a more exciting college team to watch. I just hope the rims at the Smith Center are in good shape,” Carter wrote.
In other GW basketball news, Detroit Pistons standout Richard “Rip” Hamilton was in town practicing with the Colonials. Rip played for then-assistant coach Karl Hobbs at UConn and was a member of the Huskies’ 1999 national championship team. After a practice at the Smith Center, Hobbs said that he thinks Rip always accepts the invitation to come back because he likes the campus atmosphere and added that he wouldn’t be surprised if he enrolled in summer classes one day.
On Friday night at the Smith Center, the Student Activities Center will put on Colonials Invasion. Although lackluster last year, this year’s program looks pretty good. The Harlem Globetrotters will be showing their skills while Hobbs will probably lead his squad in some strenuous dunk exercises. Until next month, or when Saturday rain causes sports stories to fall through.