A few sports notes

Wait for it, wait for it....boom. The officiating in the NBA is atrocious (that play in OT of Game 5, with Dwayne Wade running around against the entire Dallas team and drawing a foul with 1.9 seconds left was like something from a local pickup game, when the one guy everyone knows is a ballhog misses badly and bails himself out by calling a foul), but I confess to taking some perverse pleasure in seeing Mark Cuban blow his stack. Anyone who could sell a company like Broadcast.com for a billion dollars has more than a lifetime of karmic surplus to work off.

Of course, having said that, I'd rejoice to high heaven if Mark Cuban bought the Cubs, because he'd hire some smart people to run the team. You can absolutely tell that he cares about a winning team, and as a fan you can't ask for much more than that. The current Cubs team is one of the worst I've seen. I can't even read the boxscores anymore, it's so depressing.


Lost in translation:

Ukraine 7-footer Kyrylo Fesenko was asked by Bucks assistant Brian James in a drill to "come off a screen and put the ball on the floor." So Fesenko, 19, did and just laid the ball down and left it there. "The coaches just looked at one another," James said. "He did do exactly what I told him. But then I said, `You must dribble.' "


A lot of columnists have written that baseball is unfairly beaten up over the steroids issue b/c they have more stringent testing than football or basketball. That's irrelevant even if true. By that measure, cycling is unfairly beaten up because they have even stricter testing than baseball. As your mother always said when you pointed to other kids as counter examples, "Oh, so if they ate poo..."

The economic success of baseball is dependent to some degree on the uncertainty that arises from competition between teams operating on a credible level playing field (yes, there's some economic imbalance, but it's been around since the beginning of the sport and hasn't deterred the fans from coming out).

Steroids may or may not alter the competitive balance among players and teams, but the perception is that they do. My impression is that the average baseball fan finds the idea of steroid use morally repugnant, and all the arguments to the contrary--for example, (1) steroids are not proven to improve a players performance, (2) things like Lasik surgery are also enhancements, and no one protests those, (3) cheating has been around in baseball forever--are in vain.

I know certain analysts profess an ability to look at the performances of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, and their ilk with complete objectivity, but I myself fund that the luster of their accomplishments has been coated with a surface of grime, whether that's fair or not.