A number of e-mailers have written asking if I had anything to say about Stephen A. Smith, and I immediately thought of Barry Bonds.
The dots join up, as they always seem to in the case of pro sports' closed loop, a place where everyone -- even Stump the Schwab -- can find a home, where life begins with the National Spelling Bee and ends with a spot on ESPN Sports Century.
Screamin A got Raptor fans upset last June, during the broadcast of the NBA draft, when he panned the Charlie Villanueva pick. Now that CV looks like a pretty good choice at No. 7, the message boards have been in full rant. According to Screamin, they’ve even been sending him e-mails.
It got so bad he came here on Wednesday to set the record straight – okay, he appeared on The Score, between poker hands, framed by the latest soccer scores, NBA lines and Cabbie reminders in the crawl – saying that anyone from Toronto could henceforth in effect kiss his worldwide-leadin’ butt, and besides, he’d never diss Charlie V and don't bother sending any more e-mails (take that, Raptor Nation!). In terms of charmless, I-never-said-that arrogance, Screamin was as good as any George W. presser, as I Hate the Raptors transcribes.
Anyway, Ernest asks me what I think about this, and I say – *yawn*. Everybody on that (ESPN, natch) broadcast was climbing on the Raps, as we all remember, and as Cool Dry Place recounted in a live blog from that night:
• Charlie Villanueva's surprise selection by the Toronto Raptors at No. 7 sets off the troops.
(Jay) Bilas: "Shocking to me."
Greg Anthony: "I don't know what Toronto's mind-set is."
Smith: "The pick makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What the … on Earth is Rob Babcock doing? What is he doing?"
Dick Vitale: "Well, I'll tell you this, absolutely shocked. Can't believe he would go that high."
In a media age where he who shouts loudest wins the prize, they played it like a Van Halen reunion, everyone taking a turn with the cheez.
And now that Charlie V is livin’ the dream, ESPN’s magazine will come in next with the piece on his struggle to overcome the doubters, and Schwab gets all upper-lip sweaty parsing together an answer about his UConn numbers. And the circle goes unbroken.
As for Bonds, he’s dodged syringes and a billboard this week while news arrived of his brand-new reality TV show – on ESPN, of course. This, less than a week after the appointment of the chairman of ESPN's parent company, Disney, to head up Bud Selig's commission into doping in big-league baseball, an undertaking spurred by that book detailing Bonds’ alleged steroid use.
The final twist on this makes you feel happy to be Canadian (at least I think it does). TSN, owned in part by ESPN, has apparently passed on the Bonds show (which is strange, far as I’m concerned – unlike the Hilton sisters or Simon Cowell, at least Barry has talent). And who may take it? Well, perhaps The Score, the same ones who broadcast the Smith interview. If the pro wrestling schedule allows it, we may yet be able to watch Barry’s workout tips this summer.
First Screamin’ A. Then Barry. Along with all that golf coming up on Leafs TV, there's three more things on TV I can hardly wait to miss.