|Everybody wins with the lottery|
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2
Was it Forrest Gump (or just some Chinese table-tennis champion from the Nixon era) who said: Life is like a pingpong ball. You never know who's going to get Yao Ming.
Instead, our Dixie Cup runneth over with lottery balls.
And really, isn't that why you became a sports fan in the first place? Screw the '75 World Series. Bag the Bird-Magic NBA Finals clashes. Stifle a yawn over Barry Bonds' whole Willie Mays Act. Who needs human drama, unscripted theater, the struggle of athletic endeavor in the ultimate forum?
It's all about the lottery, baby. It's all about some suit holding Monty Hall-styled "Let's Make a Deal" envelopes, saying, in effect: Do the Golden State Warriors want the $100 I'm holding in my hand, or what's behind Door No. 2?
Say the Warriors: Door No. 2!
Says Monty Hall, er, David Stern: Ohhhhhh! Turns out it's a donkey! Johnny Olsen, why don't you tell Garry St. Jean about this durable burro?
Really. Could we end the NBA draft lottery? Like, now?
It starts with those absurd percentage breakdowns. You want percentages of lottery balls? I've got percentages.
At The Cooler, it breaks down like this:
I'm telling you, man, it ain't easy dispensing lottery balls from The Cooler. I mean, what do I know about pingpong balls? Last time I played pingpong, it was against my sister in the mid-1970s for the right to sit in the best chair in the TV room for ABC's power-packed Tuesday night hour of "Happy Days" and "LaVerne and Shirley."
I wish I were kidding you.
We'd better get straight to the Weekend List of Five, before the Warriors' draft pick slips any lower:
1. And through the raindrops, he looked more and more like the Bambino ...
Wait. Let me go over that sentence again.
When you lunatics -- lunatics, I say! -- booed your prized free agent in early April ...
Wait. I can't get over that initial introductory clause.
You booed this cat in early April.
That's not a great sports town. That's a sports town in need of a tranquilizer.
So anyway, I promised you a month ago that Jason Giambi would deliver. On Friday night, when he pumped a grand slam, three runs down, in the bottom of the 14th, in the rain, he didn't just deliver. He was giving half of the peace sign to you April boobirds.
I reiterate my claim from six weeks ago: Yankee fans are not allowed to cheer G right now. You must serve some sort of Insane Fan Penance, where you can't cheer him. You must instead pen him letters of apology. Preferably, on personal stationery.
Now that's the end of that.
2. Essay questions from the NBA conference finals
3. Speaking of graduation ...
It made me wonder. Should other prestigious institutions dump the idea of a bookish intellect for commencement speaker? What could be done? My same boy T.C. has a nephew, C.C., at Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy. I wonder, should they just bring in Roger Staubach to tell the grads: "Really, guys. It's not about serving your country. It's about having a rocket for an arm and a pair of great feet. You can skate through your time at sea, then launch an NFL Hall of Fame career. It's easy. I swear."
Or should UCLA bring Bill Walton to speak every June? Quoth the Redhead: "I've seen some of your essay answers to my NBA conference finals questions, and really, they're just awful. I've also seen what Steve Lavin has done to this once-proud program, and it's horrendous. It's why I sent my kid to Arizona."
4. This whole War Emblem thing
My problem is with the Saudi sheik who bought War Emblem about 10 seconds before arriving at Churchill Downs. Hey, you buy the horse, you won, fair enough. But after the Preakness win, when Bob Costas asks the delicate question of how Americans are receiving you, you don't say: "Really, I think I'm more popular than President Bush."
Now I'm not here to preach politics, Senor Sheik. I am here, however, to invoke the words of my wise Grandpa, who once said to me: "In mixed company, never talk politics, religion or another man's wife."
See, Sheik? I don't know about you. But me? If I'm you? In this environment? I lay low, pal. Act like you've been there before.
Just a word of advice before the Belmont. And good luck to War Emblem, baby.
5. Issuing fair warning
That's right. There's room on this plate for Major League Baseball, the NBA Finals, and the concept of firing up for a Poland-Portugal match in Team USA's bracket.
Open your international eyes, Cooler-dwellers. There's a whole world out there beyond the lottery balls.
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.