I'm a sports fan, as you know. I wouldn't consider myself one of those excessive sports nuts. But I do follow a few teams, I attend events every so often and I even play some of those sports at a very, very, very amateur level. I record ESPN's Pardon the Interruption everyday to keep up with the latest sports news. And I'll even follow that up on occasion with a dose of SportsCenter. I'm excited for the NBA playoffs to start. I'm enjoying the early goings of the baseball season. And I'm finally recovering from the Bears loss in the Superbowl more than 2 months ago.
What I'm not very fond of is the NFL Draft coverage. We're still more than a week away from the draft itself and, for at least the last 10 days, I've seen excessive amounts of coverage on it. To help prove my point, name 5 guys that will be drafted in the first round. How many did you come up with? Four? Okay. Good job. Ok, now how many of those guys could you have named a month ago before this ridiculous coverage started? It's like they're teaching you what to think about these players without you realizing what's happening. Instead, you show up at work, acting like you're some sort of athletic talent expert, spouting off names like JaMarcus Russell and Calvin Johnson. It works the same way with politics, as they spoon feed us topics of discussion and debate on the TV news and we then act like we're some sort of expert the next day, getting ourselves all hot and bothered over something we didn't give two shits about the day before. (I've save the political discussion for another day, perhaps over a nice cup of coffee. But the point remains valid and I hope you take some time to think about that.)
I'm sure that I'll check ESPN.com sometime next weekend and find some article about the top few guys drafted and who the Bears picked up. But I won't know who they are. And neither will you. But I'll read a bio on the first round pick and hope that he'll fill some void and then I'll forget about him until the fall. And they're overall grade will be a B-, given by some other guy I've never heard of and I'll pretend to care again.
This has been a real long, roundabout way of getting to my main point... which is.... Mel Kiper Jr. scares the shit out of me. I don't know if it's his hair. Or the fact that he just shows up once a year, absolutely basking in these few weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. Or maybe it's the recent footage with the super red ESPN sign which accentuates his shaking head when he gets excited and talks about something. Flip on ESPN when they're doing something NFL related this week - you'll see what I'm talking about.
I got my pupils dilated today for like 4 hours. So I think the inability to see clearly, combined with the vampire sensitivity to light, short circuited something in my head.
Sticking with sports and drafts - Cousin Eric sends an article about the 1985 NBA draft lottery. If you're not familiar with it, back then all of the teams that didn't make the playoffs got an equal shot of earning the top pick in the draft. So, they just put 7 envelopes in a lottery barrel and picked them "at random". The conspiracy was that Commissioner David Stern wanted so badly to save basketball (The Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan thing hadn't happened yet), that he rigged the lottery so that the New York Knicks (A big market team) would get the first pick (which everyone knew would be Patrick Ewing). The conspiracy I always heard is that he froze the envelope so he'd know which one to pick.
"When an accountant from Ernst & Whinney throws the seven envelopes into the glass drum, he bangs the fourth one against the side of the drum to create a creased corner (we'll explain why this is relevant in a second). Then he pulls a handle and turns the drum around a couple of times to "mix" the envelopes up. At the 5:23 mark of the clip, Stern heads over to the drum, unlocks it and awkwardly reaches inside for the first envelope (the No. 1 pick). He grabs three envelopes that are bunched together, pretends not to look (although he does) and flips the three envelopes so the one on the bottom ends up in his hand. Then he pulls that envelope out at the 5:32 mark ... and, of course, it's the Knicks envelope."
The video is here.