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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Hard Work Weekend

Saturday
July 2, 2005

"I awake to see that no one is free
We're all fugitives - look at the way we live"
-Coldplay "Spies"

For this being the first day of my three-day weekend, I've actually been working really hard. I have two new websites that (hopefully) will be live by tomorrow, though I'm trying to get them beyond mere skeleton status at this point. When they're good enough to "publish", I'll be shilling for them on here, don't worry.

I did catch a little bit of the Live 8 streaming audio/video from AOL Radio, which is actually a non-AOL member deal now. AOL is making much of their formerly members only material now available to the general public, which may be a mistake for them. But I was shocked at how great the quality was with the streaming audio/video; the bandwidth demand must've been through the roof, but I must say that the London feed (which had an absolutely dynamite lineup) came through in fine form. Being there in person must've been an incredible experience, though.

Risk for the PSX is now mine, as I won it via auction on eBay. I paid more than I had originally intended, but someone kept bidding me up, and I really wanted the damn game. And I got it. Hopefully it'll be worth it.

Have you seen that XM Satellite Radio commercial for Major League Baseball where they have "Why Can't We Be Friends" by War playing? It's a decently funny spot, but what would really put it over the top would be to sign either Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia or Washington manager Frank Robinson for a one-off commercial with them staring down an angry Nationals or Angels fan, respectively. To the casual fan the humor might not be there, but hardcore fans (the ones being targeted by XM) would get the reference to the feud the two teams developed during interleague play. If they could somehow get Scioscia and Robinson to bury the hatchet and do a spot together (perhaps even with Nationals rightfielder Jose Guillen, the alleged instigator of the problems, who once played for the Angels), that would be tremendous.

Tony Twist with Quebec
The mullet, the ugly uniform, the losing: there's a great deal Tony Twist would like to forget about his time with Quebec.

Speaking of the Nationals, Scott Massey managed to "MacCullough" them with his comments in April that "any team can win the NL East but Washington." Naturally, the Nationals are currently in first in the NL East. It's nearly a Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche situation all over again, with a team becoming good the year after moving to the United States (after suffering through years of futility in Canada), only in MLB this time. The Nordiques were really bad though, missing the playoffs year after year in an era when four out of the five teams in their division would make the playoffs. Incidentally, that era of the NHL was just ridiculous (16 teams out of 21 made the playoffs from 1979 through 1992). But from 1987-1988 to 1991-1992 (the last year of the five team Adams Division), Quebec finished in last place in the Adams Division EVERY TIME. They couldn't even edge out Hartford. Ha! Now, to be fair, Quebec started to get good (to take a phrase from Chris Norton, of Phil Hendrie show fame) around the time of the NHL Lockout, Volume 1, but by then the fix was in and the team was bound for Denver.

In hunting down details on the old NHL days, I ran across this page on the Nashville Predators website dedicated to the old Nashville Knights of the ECHL. What the article fails to mention is that the Knights' box office success in that low-rung minor league organization (not the AHL or IHL, to be sure) played a major role in helping the city secure an NHL expansion team (the Predators, which is the greatest seedy-undertone team name since the old Washington Bullets of the NBA).

Nashville Knights
I went to several Nashville Knights games back in the day.

If you were like me and missed it, you really need to make an effort to find the highlights from today's Lindsay Davenport/Venus Williams Wimbeldon Finals. If there's one sport where the woman's division is more entertaining than the men's, it's tennis (in my opinion, due to the ridiculously fast serves on the men's side making long volleys mostly a thing of the past). Davenport won the first set, but V. Williams rallied to win the second, and came from behind yet again to win the third and final set. They had one point that involved twenty-five volleys. 25! Apparently at Wimbeldon you have to win the final set (I keep wanting to use pro wrestling terminology and call it "the final fall") by two points, without going to tiebreakers at 6-6 like you do in the first two sets, so it played out 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 9-7. The highlights were outstanding, and I can only imagine what the drama felt like for those watching it live. Definitely one for ESPN Classic...


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