After several weeks off for dental surgery and a bloodletting at the last NFL owners convention, the Count is returning this week.
These old fangs just ain’t what they used to be. Bit into a hard pretzel after seven green beers on St. Patrick’s Day, or maybe it was the mug. That would explain it. Postponed plans to bring The Countdown out of its offseason coma last week.
Head still hurt. Still seeing things. Could have sworn I heard the words Jerry Glanville and employed in the same sentence again. Not possible. Is it?
We count down . . .
10. What happens when you try to mix patriotism and a drinking holiday?
OK, about Jerry Glanville. He did not sing the national anthem at a spring training game the other day. But a leprechaun did. An angry leprechaun. True story: The Dodgers — who used to be about things like scouting and winning and baseball tradition and now just do stupid stuff — thought it would be a cute idea if they had a “little person” dress up like the Lucky Charms guy on St. Patrick’s Day and sing the national anthem at a spring training game. I’m guessing their second choice was having a yak tap-dance to God Bless America. Anyways, the poor little “singer,” whose name is Donald Davis, apparently forgot some of the words. (Maybe a song by the Oompa Loompas would’ve been more in his range.) So The Little Donald apparently got nervous, blew the anthem performance, then got mocked and harassed, according to his quasi-manager, Jeff Beacher. It’s true: Little men dressed as leprechauns who sing the national anthem at spring training games apparently have managers. Who knew? Beacher’s company rents out little people. So Beacher was angry too and he fired off a letter to the Dodgers, admonishing the team for its “treatment” of Davis and demanded that the organization “formally apologize.” I haven’t been able to find The Little Donald’s anthem on YouTube or iTunes so I can’t remark on the reaction to it. I’m also pretty sure The Little Donald won’t be playing at Bonnaroo. But I don’t think this is what Walter O’Malley had in mind when he moved the team from Brooklyn.
9. And speaking of clown acts . . .
Back to Glanville. He has been named coach of the UFL’s Hartford Colonials. I’m struggling with this question: Is this more of an insult to Glanville’s career or the UFL’s existence? At his most recent job, Glanville went 9-24 in three seasons at Portland State, which really was just looking to sell tickets, which works out well because the UFL identified “21″ strong markets, intended to start with eight teams, instead opened with four, three of which played home games in combined seven cities, and then two of those teams moved, and I think two others folded, and one might now be a car wash, but I’ve kinda lost track, and really all they want to do is sell tickets, too! (The Count commends you if you made it through that sentence in one breath.) Let’s put it this way: The UFL is the third-rate traveling circus that sets up in the abandoned shopping mall parking lot on the wrong side of town, and Glanville is its star attraction: similar to the two-headed goat, except that the second head kind of looks like paper-maché, or possibly Mouse Davis.)
8. No NFL? Don’t turn to the UFL to fill the void
UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue has one distinct advantage over the NFL’s Roger Goodell. He is not on the verge of being knocked out in court for anti-trust violations. I follow @UFLcommissioner on Twitter because you just never know when the league might offer a free set of pots and pans if you attend a game. This is close: The Las Vegas Locomotives were scheduled to receive their UFL championship rings Monday night, and they were going to raffle off a ring to one lucky fan, assuming one showed up. The advantage to a guy wearing a UFL ring in a singles bar is you probably could convince a hot girl that you’re one of the players. And just like them, you’re leaving alone.
7. No NFL? OK, Lingerie football, maybe
The Count really has about had it with these NFL labor issues. It probably was seeing Hines Ward on Dancing With The Stars Monday night that sent him over the edge. If the lockout continues, expect to see Ndamukong Suh singing later this summer on “310 pound Defensive Tackles Got Talent.” For a viewing alternative until the NFL returns, The Count recommends video clips from the Lingerie Football League. And if their league has labor issues, it’s easy for a owner to restock the roster with one trip to the Club Boom Boom, or possibly to a certain street corner. (”Hey mister. I’ll do anything for $200. Even run the triple option.”) The LFL season is over. But seriously, tell me what you would rather watch: Hines Ward dancing or this Lingerie Football post-game brawl from this season?
First, the unfortunate Mr. Ward (naughty Bulldog)
Next, the sweet science from the Lingerie gals (ooh, naughty girls)
Make your selection and let me know you preference. (Note: If you choose Hines doing the cha-cha, your kind is not welcome here.)
6. Can’t say he doesn’t know his product
Ken Stabler, who has been arrested three times for DUI, has chosen an unfortunate new career path: winemaker. Stabler’s “Legend Cellars” has a “12″ on the label. That was his uniform number, as well as possibly his blood alcohol level. The thought of Stabler running a winery seems like Orson Welles running a Golden Corral. Stabler is running an early promotion: If you purchase an entire case, he’s teach you how to blow into an empty bottle like a harmonica and play Dixie while driving with your tippy toes.
5. Pearl gone, grease spot remains
Tennessee finally booted out Bruce Pearl, and the wonder is not only that it took so long but how some Rocky top yahoos have blind loyalty to a coach who likely is going to get the school on probation. There is even a Keep Bruce Pearl Facebook page with 13,223 members, possibly several of whom are related. Consider the logic of one Barry Smith, 49, of Knoxville, who told the Knoxville News: “I think the NCAA has reared their head and are extorting UT, saying, ‘If you keep [Pearl], you’re going to regret it.’ What Bruce did was wrong, everybody gets that, and he’s paid a price for that. But he gained no competitive advantage from the violation he committed.’’ Of course not. Because don’t you know: college coaches like Pearl sometimes host secret barbecues for high school recruits and then lie about it, only because they didn’t want the NCAA to know that they foolishly had overstocked their freezer with ground beef and baby back ribs. I mean, that could be embarrassing.
4. Mike Hamilton, your shuttle is waiting
The Count believes there’s a special place waiting in the afterlife for former athletic directors who act like nothing is wrong while buildings burn down around them. First there was Nero, who, you know, fiddled. Then there was former USC athletic director Mike Garrett, who watched as both the football and basketball programs went on probation. Now there’s Mike Hamilton, who we suspected was loony when he hired Lane Kiffin (and did nothing about his shenanigans), and then he completely mishandled the Pearl situation. If Hamilton keeps his job, that only means that the UT chancellor, Jimmy Creek, needs to lose his, too. Suddenly there are so many empty lockers in Knoxville. (Nice job by CW Young at @TheCountySeat, the first Twitter-based cartoon for his work just prior to Pearl’s firing.)
3. On the subject of lyin’ coaches: Off to “O-lie-o State”
We didn’t want to get past this week without also recognizing the work of MichiganZone.net, which is kind of enjoying watching Ohio State’s Jim Tressel twist in hellish winds after his admission of covering up NCAA violations. The kids in Ann Arbor are projecting how the Ohio State band will dot the “i” at halftime next season.
2. Pac-12 hits the Independence Bowl of marketing campaigns
As you probably know, The Count’s roots are on the West Coast. Therefore it pains him to admit this publicly about the Pacific 10/12: What a bunch of geeks. The conference desperately has been trying to raise awareness and improve its brand and . . . Sorry. Lapsed into marketing speak. It’s late. I need a shot. Be right back. …. (Pause) (Go do something)… Back. Better. So the conference, which is expanding from 10 to 12 teams by adding superduper power houses Utah and Colorado — stop laughing — just made quite possible the worst promotional video ever. Not sure yet about BCS ramifications. (Thanks for tip from the Lost Letterman).
1. And finally . . .
A special Countdown raspberry this week to Florida State, which is forcing two cash-strapped schools Atlanta area schools to cough up a settlement for copyright infringement, as well as $250,000 in legal fees. The schools’ Seminoles’ logos apparently too closely resemble FSU’s logos. To quote school member Darlene Hotchkiss: “I thought it was a joke. Why are they going after the little guys?” No kidding. FSU’s athletic department had over $75 million in revenue in the 2009-10 academic year. Rockdale County schools are looking at a $10 million deficit and now must replace uniforms, gym floors, etc. because they carry the logo. The assumption is they won’t be doing any recruiting around here.
By Jeff Schultz