Knowing the Score

I made a decision recently, as a sports editor that I would stop being a couch potato and more like the athletes I cover daily.

Now, at 31 years of age, I cannot play ball like a high school kid, but I feel that, as long as I am physically able to, it makes no sense to be an out of shape sports writer.

I have such a new appreciation for athletes, young and old, who have to stay in shape.  Exercising and dieting sucks. 

I am running; playing basketball and handball; and lifting weights – my body is killing me.  And I can’t even enjoy the Girl Scout cookies in the fridge, or the delicious hamburger my photographer is eating in the cubicle next to me.  Nope.  I’m eating tuna out of a can, hardboiled eggs from the cafeteria and chicken from the George Foreman grill.  And to know that athletes out there, while not having to sacrifice all the good foods due to their youth, make so many sacrifices to stay in shape throughout the year, all while making their grades, is just amazing. Keep up the great work. 

Now, while I eye my coworker’s fries, I must take my mind off it all with some well-placed observations about today’s sports. 

Sports took a horrible turn when fan affiliation turned to tragedy.  A Yankees fan could not take being teased and decided to run a Red Sox fan down with her car. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it.  I think it puts a lot into perspective.  There is a major difference between a Red Sox fan burying a jersey in the cement of the new Yankee Stadium and a Yankee fan murdering someone in cold blood.  It’s time people stopped taking their sports so seriously.  In the end, it is really all just a game. 

And speaking of games, the playoff series between the Celtics and Cavaliers has been one to watch.  Boston and Cleveland split their four regular season battles between one another, but with it all on the line, the Celtics have really come out as the favorites to win the NBA championship.  I have a feeling this series will heat up. Cleveland won’t  go down without a fight, but I believe the Celtics will be heading to the finals. 

On the west, I believe the Lakers will also reach the finals.  In a season where the Knicks were such a disappointment, seeing the Lakers go up against the Celtics in the NBA finals will be like an early Christmas present for fans that remember the days of Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson.  Kevin Garnett vs. Kobe Bryant could be every bit as much a classic.

When it is all said and done, Bryant is really the only true driving force for the Lakers.  It’s the reason why he is the NBA MVP.  The NBA has it right.  They didn’t wait until the playoffs to vote for the MVP, because being on a championship team does not mean you have the league’s most valuable player.  In the Lakers’ case, without Kobe Bryant, I believe L.A. would not be enjoying as much success.  Good choice.

That’s exactly how I will be picking the first and second All-Borough teams for baseball and softball this year.  Look for that in the coming weeks.

One game I did not get to see is the battle between Lehman and Monroe last Friday, May 9, thanks to the rain. 

Lehman, which enjoyed a perfect game, pitched by Kenny Figueroa last year, had a great season in 2007, but this year, in a wood bat season where baseball fundamentals reign supreme, the Lions have proved to be even better, going into their battle with Monroe, enjoying a perfect 10-0 record. 

Monroe, the team that reached the finals last season, falling short in a tough battle with the Tottenville Pirates, went into 2008 with a fairly new team and no expectations.  But Monroe, who did suffer a tough loss to Evander several weeks back, have rebounded and are on a championship pace, looking to even the playing field before the PSAL playoff seeding.  They have already ended Kennedy’s flawless win streak.  The two teams have rescheduled their battle for this week.  The game will have taken place by the time this paper comes out.  Be on the lookout for a full report of the action next week. 

The regular season comes to an end and it goes out with a bang.  In addition to Lehman-Monroe, Kennedy and Lehman will also do battle twice this week, as will Monroe and Clinton.  And the playoffs are set to begin soon after.  This is the when it all goes on the line.  The best of the best will emerge victorious.  You can be certain I will get off the couch for this. 

Until next time, I’ll see you at the games. 

Jon Minners, Knowing the Score, Monroe, Lehman, baseball, exercise, athletes, PSAL, CHSAA, Kobe Bryant, Celtics, Knicks, Lakers, NBA, Yankees, Red Sox

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