Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beam me up Scotty

After Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson won his record 10th NBA title Sunday night, several scribes anointed the basketball zen master as the greatest coach ever.

In any sport.

Talk about jumping the gun. Heck, Jackson might not be the best coach ever in his own sport, with the likes of Red Auerbach, Pat Summitt and John Wooden definitely in the discussion.

Even though my hoops coaching experience was limited to the Greece Basketball Association (that's the suburb of Greece not the country for you readers outside of Western New York), I think I might have had a shot at a few NBA titles with Michael in Chicago and Kobe and Shaq in L.A.

And who’s to say Jackson is better than Joe Paterno, Vince Lombardi and Knute Rockne in football or Joe McCarthy or Casey Stengel or Joe Torre in baseball.

I still believe you could make a very strong case for Scotty Bowman as the best coach of all-time. He won nine Stanley Cups with three different teams (five with Montreal, one with Pittsburgh and one with Detroit).

Sadly, he didn't drink from the Cup while coaching the Sabres, adding to Buffalo's belief that its sports teams are cursed.


Interestingly, when Phil Jackson was coaching the old Albany Patroons in the CBA, he was routinely beaten by Coach Mauro Panaggio's Rochester Zeniths. Who's to say Mauro might not have gone on to a Hall-of-Fame coaching career if he had gotten a shot with the NBA. We'll never know.


Word is that former Bills quarterback J.P. Losman is going to sign with Las Vegas in the new United Football League. The UFL has been in the planning stages for a few years and includes a bunch of former NFL players and head coaches, including ex-Bills linebacker and New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett.

The quality of play is expected to be the equivalent of Double-A football – several steps below the old USFL, which in hindsight (Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Steve Young, Herschel Walker) turned out to be pretty darn good.

J.P. won’t be the only QB attempting to resurrect his career in the UFL. The fledgling football league also is close to signing dog-murderer Michael Vick.


Is anybody else as tired as I am of the Brett Favre unretirement story? Now, because of his recent shoulder surgery we’re going to be subjected to at least another month of this “Is he?’’ or “Isn’t he?’’ baloney.


Came across a great Casey Stengel quote the other day regarding the hapless 1962 Mets, who lost 120 games. Asked specifically how his team might improve, the Old Perfesser quipped: “We’ve got to learn how to stay out of the triple play.’’


Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the day when O.J. Simpson turned in his greatest acting performance. It occurred in a court room rather than on the silver screen. On trial for double-murder, the Juice was asked to put on the gloves found at the crime scene. He strained and strained to pull the gloves on, prompting his attorney Johnnie Cochran to tell the jurors, “If the glove don’t fit, you’ve got to acquit.’'

Sadly, the jury agreed in one of the worse miscarriages of justice in American history.


On a happier historical note, Monday was the 71st anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer’s feat of becoming the only pitcher in Major League baseball history to toss back-to-back no-hitters. No one has come close to duplicating the double no-no - one of baseball’s most underappreciated achievements.


For the three people interested, I dropped a 7-6 pitching decision in nine innings in Silver Base Ball League action Sunday at Genesee Country Village and Museum. The Rochesters beat the Excelsiors in a game that was played extremely well considering it was our season opener.

We’ll be back at it in Mumford this Sunday. My back should be back in place by then.

After the game, we headed to a watering hole for a few adult beverages and I learned that Mets zillionaire pitcher Johan Santana had been knocked out of the game by the Yankees after being bombarded for a career-high 9 earned runs. Hey, I thought to myself, at least I went the distance. And my salary with the Excelsiors is $0 - about $12 million a year less than what Santana rakes in.


Please keep four of my friends in your thoughts and prayers – courageous Press-Radio Club secretary-treasurer Pat Grover, who’s half-way through her radiation treatments; Red Wings public relations director Chuck Hinkel, who is convalescing after hip surgery; Leigh Ann Brattain, who is recovering from surgery in Cleveland, and former Democrat and Chronicle sports editor Tom Batzold, who is recuperating from a stroke at Rochester General.

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