Hail or Rail Scale, Part II: LeRon McClain, Erik Spoelstra, Antonio Margarito, Cecil Newton, Lakers, Jazz, Steve Spurrier and Kevin Love
November 18th, 2010 by Chris Humpherys
Last week’s Hail or Rail Scale was such a smash hit, I did my best to expedite the next episode. Never let it be said I don’t have my readers’ best interests at heart.
As you may recall, Randy Moss and Zenyatta topped (and bottomed) last week’s Hail or Rail. Let’s see who takes the honors this time around.
1 point – Le’Ron McClain
In sports, and I guess real life too, spitting on someone is an uncrossable line, an indefensible act. The only place where spitting is still deemed socially acceptable these days is reality television.
I’ve done some irrational things in my life but I can honestly say, in the heat of battle, it never occurred to me to spit on someone. I guess I just wasn’t born with that premeditated spit gene. Probably a good thing.
Le’Ron McClain’s recent altercation, where he (accidentally?) spat on Channing Crowder, brought back memories of Sandy Alomar and Bill Romanowski. Alomar had a Hall of Fame career yet after 12 all-star appearances, two World Series rings and a .300 lifetime batting average, he’s remembered for spitting on umpire John Hirschbeck as much as he is anything else.
McClain claimed his projectile was incidental and was not fined by the league. Either way, let’s hope it’s a long time coming before we discuss the next, big sports lugey.
2 points – Erik Spoelstra
Just when everyone thought Brad Childress led all coaches in the Dead Man Walking category, Erik Spoelstra shot up the charts with a bullet.
On their second prime time matchup of the season against the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat was once again easily extinguished. If the playoffs started today, the Heat might struggle to make it out of the first round.
Miami’s now 7-4. If that winning percentage keeps up, something’s going to have to give. While it might be too early to press the panic button, it will be Spoelstra’s head on the chopping block. After all, they’re not going to fire LeBron.
The Heat have high expectations. With that roster, anything less than multiple titles is unacceptable. Coach better make some adjustments on the fly befo’ Spo is no mo’.
3 points – The Antonio Margarito camp
I was unfortunately unable to watch Saturday’s Antonio Margarito-Manny Pacquiao fight but by all accounts, it was bloodier than Saw 3-D.
The beating was so thorough, Pacquaio broke Margarito’s orbital bone, all without having to stuff his boxing gloves with plaster to do so.
If it wasn’t appalling enough that his corner didn’t throw in the towel to prevent any further damage, Margarito stepped out of bounds before the fight by making fun of Freddie Roach’s Parkinson’s Disease. His insensitivity might have been what led to his eventual ass-whooping. There hasn’t been a beating this inspired since Muhammad Ali beat Ernie Terrell for refusing to call him by his real name.
Either way, it’ll be a while before Margarito steps into the ring again and boxing is probably all the better for it.
4 points – Cecil Newton
Assuming any of these ongoing allegations about Cam Newton are true, we may have to award Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, our pimp of the year award.
January can’t come soon enough for the Newton family. By then, the college football season will be over, Cam will declare for the NFL draft and earn a legitimate paycheck, all the while leaving behind a troublesome wake for the Auburn Tigers. Auburn may be on their way to a conference – and perhaps national – championship but at what cost?
Newton’s not the first big name player to allegedly accept money to play football for a major college program. Nor will Cecil be the last father to whore his son out for a quick buck. But right now, they’re both in the spotlight, hot and heavy. If there’s any truth that Cecil offered his son’s talents to the highest bidder at the expense of perhaps, his education, then that deserves top billing for our rail of the week.
1 point – Los Angeles Lakers
Until their first two losses to Denver and Phoenix, most fans were speculating that the Lake Show might challenge the Bulls’ best ever regular season record of 72-10. To quote Lee Corso, not so fast, my friends.
While they lost to a hot Carmelo Anthony and later a scorching Suns team, that shouldn’t discredit what the Lakers are doing this season. They are now 10-2 and haven’t skipped a beat from last year’s Finals.
As usual, they’re doing it all without Andrew Bynum, who might soon set an NBA record for most championship rings won per fewest regular season appearances.
As long as the dynamic duo of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol remain healthy, there’s no reason to believe the Lakers won’t be poised to defend their title in June.
2 points – Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz might want to consider moving back east because they played lights out on their recent road trip. The Jazz became the first team in the shot clock era to come back from double-digit deficits to win four straight basketball games. They did so against Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte, who all made the playoff last year.
Paul Millsap became the most celebrated NBA player to torch Miami with his hot hand. Heat-haters, of which there are plenty, are ready to erect a statue in his honor after he poured in 46, further exposing Miami’s weaknesses.
Deron Williams must’ve read where I suggested Rajon Rondo might be the league’s best point guard. All Williams did during those four games was average 23 points and 12 assists. I promise never to doubt the Illinois product again.
Now if the Jazz can only do something about Andrei Kirilenko’s haircut.
3 points – Kevin Love
Was I dreaming or did I turn on SportsCenter the other night to see a whole lotta Love. 31 points and 31 rebounds? Where did he find the time?
It’s always impressive when an athlete does something that hasn’t been accomplished in thirty years. Even more impressive is the fact that Love got Minnesota fans to stop talking about Brad Childress for a night.
Love became the first player to go for 30 and 30 in an NBA game since Moses Malone did so in 1982. To further put Love’s night in perspective, Yao Ming doesn’t have 31 rebounds yet THIS SEASON!
4 points – Steve Spurrier
What can I say? If he weren’t already on this list, Steve Spurrier’s recent victory, South Carolina’s first ever in the Swamp, may have cemented the Ol’ Ball Coach as one the top ten greatest college football coaches of all time.
On Saturday, Coach Spurrier strutted into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and was later carried off on his players’ shoulders, all the while reminding the coach on the other sidelines who named that building in the first place. The Gamecocks beat the Gators so soundly, Spurrier had Meyer throwing his headset. Talk about role reversal.
For the four-loss Florida Gators, it’s back to the drawing board but as an alum, I’ll refrain from griping about the season that was, for it would be in bad taste… and none of us have that much time. This is a celebration of all things Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks who will now play in the SEC championship for the first time in school history.