Violence without Hockey

Chuck Chucks Schmuck: Heroic and intelligent Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley started the regular season off in grand style this week by throwing a fellow bar patron through a wine rack and plate glass window at Jerry’s. The ever-insufferable Houston Rockets’ forward, who seems to have been in as many bar fights as all-star games, is claiming self defense, which is becoming a moldy excuse. We can’t remember whether he claimed self defense the time he spat on that little girl, after which his diplomatic skills were rewarded by being named to represent the USA at the Olympics. When you’re just 6′ 8″, self defense becomes a priority. How else to explain leaving a loaded gun in plain view on the floor of your Jaguar? And to think, this column was going to be pretty thin before Barkley saved the day. Who says Chuck doesn’t come through in the clutch?

Cheesy Rider: Portland Trail Blazers guard and perennial arrestee Isaiah (J.R.) Rider, just days after a fluff-piece in the local paper about how he had cleaned up his act and was providing leadership to the team, was caught doing 73 in a 50 mph zone. No real problem here, except J.R. had no Oregon driver’s license. He did, however, produce both a Minnesota and California license. Hey, he’s only been here a year, let’s cut him some slack! His red Range Rover was towed. We wonder whether other Blazers will now be skirting the law and getting their expensive iron hauled away as a result of Isaiah’s new-found leadership.

More-On Rider: The NBA finally suspended J.R. for two games as a result of some or all of his three arrests last summer. Rider sat out more games than that last year just while pouting, not to mention all the minutes he was benched for showing up late, or not at all, for games and practices. J.R. appealed his case anyway, complaining that the NBA had waited too long before meting out the punishment. That reminds us, has the Terry Nichols trial started yet? We feel just about as sorry for him. Rider’s initial appeal was rejected.

Punks In Pigskin: Temperamental (emphasis on mental) Indianapolis quarterback Jim Harbaugh punched NBC broadcaster and former Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly last Saturday night, breaking his hand, after Kelly called Harbaugh a baby for sitting out one game too many for the 0-8 Colts. This news, taken with the egomaniacal, childish antics of overrated quarterback Jim McMahon a few years back, makes us aware that the NFL’s low-IQ club apparently extends beyond linemen and now includes quarterbacks named Jim.

Horsehide Horseshit: The only-five-years-old Florida Marlins are baseball’s new world champions after what was actually a pretty exciting seven-game World Series. There was much squawking about how Marlins’ owner Wayne Huizenga, he of the deep pockets, used his heavy cash-flow to quickly assemble a championship-caliber team that won it all. Haven’t any of these boneheads ever heard of George Steinbrenner? And speaking of losers, what kind of idiots build a new ballpark as far north as Cleveland without a removable dome? After nearly getting a World Series game snowed out, those dorks must be sorry they… oh… the editor just walked by and reminded me he is originally from Cleveland… Hats off to the heroic minds of Cleveland who had the good sense to respect the sanctity of baseball and avoid building one of those sterile, tradition-ignorant stadiums with the silly removable domes!

Kill The Broadcasters: There was also a lot of whining about how the broadcasters were too light on incompetent umpire Eric Gregg during the AL Championship Series, who was calling a strike zone as wide as a garage door. But we can remember worse baseball broadcasting: During the 1981 NL playoffs, annoying fathead Joe Garagiola was doing color when he was suddenly possessed to say this about a Houston Astros infielder coming to bat: “Dickie Thon. That sounds like a country-western song. Dickie Thon, Dickie Thon, Dickie Dickie Dickie Thon!” We were glad the game was also on the radio.

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