A couple of pressing questions this week as the NBA Finals and the World Cup get under way and the Stanley Cup Finals melt into obscurity. Somebody tell me, please, what you have to do get a cool solitary name if you’re on the Brazilian World Cup team? Date a swimsuit model, like Ronaldo? Sign a professional contract for 30 million euros, like the world’s best player, Ronaldinho? Win three World Cup titles, like Pelé?Maybe it’s not as complex as I’m imagining. Pelé has said in numerous interviews that he doesn’t even know what his “nickname” means. His neighborhood friends just started calling him that when he was a kid.This starts to make more sense when you realize that the birth name of the world’s greatest soccer player is – you ready for this? – Edson Arantes do Nascimento. As a scale warmup for an elementary school choir, that works great. As a name for the man who, at the height of his fame, was the second-most recognized human on the planet, it stinks. Ali knew as much.Still, this can get confusing. Ronaldinho’s real first name is Ronaldo. And Ronaldo himself used to go by Ronaldinho. After scouring the Internet, I discovered that in Portuguese the suffix “inho” means “little.”One follow-up question: If councilman Torre has a boy, would he be called Torrinho? And would he have to host the Olympics? Seriously, who is watching these Stanley Cup finals? Someone, anyone, I’d love to hear your argument as to why I should care about this compelling series between Edmonton (population 1,016,000) and Carolina – America’s hockey hotbed! – being played out on the Outdoor Life Network.And you don’t count, Steve Johnson, because there’s a kid from your hometown of Fargo playing for the Hurricanes.Bill Simmons of espn.com reported in his column Thursday that Game 1 of the finals was watched by 611,000 households, drawing lower rankings than the Arizona-Northwestern women’s softball game on the same night. Man: Stanley Cup fever – catch it while you can!ESPN still feels obligated to give hockey updates every night on SportsCenter, usually about a half hour into the show, right after the Rockies-Pirates highlights. I find myself curiously watching, fully aware that somewhere two teams are playing for the right to hoist one of the most hallowed trophies in sports for the first time in two years, yet I’m unable to find any reason to care.After about three minutes of listening to Barry Melrose blabber, I’m usually ready for some Royals highlights. What the hell are the flippin’ Rockies thinking drafting some kid who hasn’t played baseball since high school?I thought this was a typo when I read this on the wire Wednesday, but then I remembered we are talking about the Rockies. Seems the brain trust in Denver thought it was a smart pick to select Southern Mississippi wide receiver Damion Carter in the 46th round. Carter is projected as a left fielder. If they continue to make picks like this, I project the Rockies to give the Clippers and the Saints a run in the coming years for the title of most inept franchise in sports history.That there’s actually a 46th round in the MLB draft reminds me why I can’t wait for football season. Do you ever wonder if all of baseball’s disgraced steroid junkies are hanging out somewhere together? Like Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa are both in Florida playing rounds of golf with O.J., or Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco have each other over for weekly cookouts?Seriously, since all of these clowns – aside from Curt Schilling – appeared before Congress two summers ago, it’s been one disappearing act after the next.Now we get Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley, who asked for his outright release from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, a day after federal agents searched his home following his admission he used human growth hormone, steroids and amphetamines.You wonder, now that he’s been shamed into retirement, if Grimsley gets an invite to the monthly poker game at Raffy’s house? I only wish Barry Bonds would do us all a favor and follow Grimsley’s lead. Finally, did anyone see TO wearing a Shaquille O’Neal jersey to the first game of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Dallas? Does anyone really think that this guy isn’t going to blow up the Cowboys’ locker room? Does anyone think that Bill Parcells’ third retirement might come before training camp? Does ESPN smell a new reality series?Somewhere, Donovan McNabb is smiling.Nate Peterson is anxiously awaiting your response as to why he should watch the Stanley Cup finals. Send your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org
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After falling through a trapdoor in his Telluride home a couple of weeks ago, Chris Busbee wasn’t sure if he’d be able to keep his streak going. He had run in every New York City Marathon since 1998 and was going to run it virtually this year in Aspen before his spill put all that in jeopardy.