Here's to Ew
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

At The Cooler, we never doubt New York City.

Best drinking town in the country. Best cab town in the country. And most epic sports fans in the country.

Patrick Ewing
Almost makes you forget that they shipped him to Seattle.
In that order.

A reminder came over the weekend, dwellers, when Patrick Ewing's jersey was retired at Madison Square Garden. Does anybody do it better than these guys?

Willis Reed -- in the house.

Walt (Clyde) Frazier -- in the house.

Marvelous Marv Albert -- in the house.

And really, how about Marv Albert? I've missed this guy. He flashed that Marv wit we all loved so much from the Letterman NBC days. When Ewing was presented with about 40 assorted sports jerseys with the No. 33 on them, Albert deadpanned, for all of the Garden and a national TV audience to hear:

"A wonderful addition, to the Ew-ing household."

Too bad all anybody remembers about this guy is that he dug wearing lingerie. The cat is funny and smooth. So what if he dons a silk teddy on the road? Whatever floats your boat, pal. Come to think of it, they should have slid a silk teddy in the rack of jerseys, with the No. 33 and the name "ALBERT" across the back. Woulda been rich.

Anyway, back to the inimitable stylings of New York City and sports fans I need to drink with.

They booed Alonzo Mourning -- and Michael Jordan! Booing Jordan? Isn't that like booing Jesse Owens? Or Babe Ruth? Who boos Jordan? Then, it came to me: New Yorkers boo Jordan. They understand his greatness, and will love him when he retires. But this was Patrick's night, man. And if Jordan or 'Zo wanted to come into the Garden on Patrick's night, they were going to be informed by a beer-soaked, No. 33 jersey-wearing crowd that this is Patrick's house. I love it.

And, of course, pockets of the Yankee Stadium roll call broke out, when the fans took it upon themselves to chant, "Pat-rick Ew-ing, clap,clap/clap,clap,clap" as the ceremony dragged on. We need more of this in life: The appreciative Yankee Stadium roll call clap. Do it for waitresses who do a dynamite job. For the beer man at a spring training game. For your tax accountant, who works over your deductions like Van Gogh worked a canvas.

Finally, it was time for the jersey to the rafters, and it soared like it should -- with majesty. Only drag: They didn't play Europe's "The Final Countdown" for the jersey lift. Horrendous tune. Bad '80s synth. But so Garden. So Knicks. So big hair Bridge and Tunnel.

It was all enough to give any self-respecting dweller a warm Gotham glow, and to raise the Dixie cup of Sparkletts. A perfect segue, then to the lead item of our Weekend List of Five:

1. A toast ... to all my friends!
Speaking of New York -- David Wells, dwellers, can pitch in my rotation anytime. Don't give me some studious type. Don't give me Greg Maddux breaking down video like he's Jim Garrison with his mitts on the Zapruder film. Give me the guy who has to issue a clarification, for Christ's sake, on the state of his inebriation when he threw a perfect game.

David Wells
"I've got a perfect game, and it's got Excedrin written all over it."
After that Hall of Fame story broke last week that Wellsy was half in the bag when he went 27 up, 27 down at the Stadium, I wondered how fast we could get the bust of the big left-hander shipped to Cooperstown. After all, how many of us have rolled out of the rack after a tremendous night of carousing and posted at the workplace with eyeballs looking like road maps and some little man doing a Gene Krupa skin-pounding session in our head? It's all you can do to get through the day without curling up under the cubicle for the mid-morning nap. Wells hung an El Perfecto in this debilitated state. David Wells is our hero, man.

So listen to the man when he issues the precise clarification: "I went out the night before and now it says I'm drunk that day. I wasn't. I took some aspirin and had a headache, but what I read said I was drunk."

Come on, ghostwriter! Respect the drinker! You've got to know the difference between a skull-rattling hangover and still being 'faced. Wells said he was just hung. Semantics are key.

This is priceless stuff, by the way.

2. Tiger ... again
Do not, under any circumstances, piss this guy off.

Phirst, Phil did it. Questioned his equipment. Insert your own joke here. Tiger crushed him at Torrey Pines like he was stamping out a cigarette on a wet sidewalk.

Tiger Woods
In the interest of time, Tiger is presented with the next three trophies.
Then, Ernie Els did it. Not by ripping Eldrick, but by winning the first two events on Tour -- and setting a Tour scoring record doing it. We all couldn't wait to rush to our laptops and pen the Ernie is God stories. We figured Tiger was a goner. History. Toast.

Hey, sometimes the athletes are right: We do build these guys up, just to tear them down.

Meanwhile, Tiger sits at home in Orlando, rehabbing the knee, smoldering smoke trickling out of his ears, like a fuse blew in his head.

So Tiger rolls out with the two W's in his first three starts, punctuated by the grueling, fickle, gnarly and impressive Match Play win this weekend. The match with Adam Scott on Saturday was a classic, and not just because the young Aussie stud was getting wolf-whistles from the female gallery members at La Costa. (Memo to 22-year-old Adam Scott: Do not, under any circumstances, do the "girlfriend" thing, anytime soon. You have a massive opportunity in front of you, kid. We hope you understand the magnitude of your impending good fortune. End of memo.)

Anyway, so that's that. Ernie who? I'm piling on the Tiger bandwagon again. Guy's got his own brand of clothing, got more shots in his bag than Minnesota Fats (and we don't mean Lumpy Herron) and a Swedish girlfriend.

Somebody buy this man a lottery ticket.

3. Roy Jones, Jr: The greatest school bully ever
Wow. Roy Jones, Jr. goes from middleweight to light heavyweight to heavyweight -- and kicks everybody's ass all the while. This is like being the Greatest School Bully Ever, like dominating the playground and administering physical justice in elementary school, junior high and high school. This is no mean trifecta, dwellers.

Roy Jones Jr.
Hand over your lunch money, here comes Roy Jones Jr.
I mean, it was tough for the elementary school bully to keep his game at a high level up to junior high. Usually, that cat got big early, and roamed fifth and sixth grade as the king of the jungle -- only to see his 5-foot-3 frame, so impressive then, not look so hot when it hadn't changed by the ninth grade. And the junior high bully -- same thing. He's the tough guy because he's shaving by the seventh grade, but by the 11th grade, when everyone else is shaving, he's yesterday's news.

The high school bully remains the king of the jungle -- the guy under his car hood in the back parking lot who commanded total respect.

Roy Jones, Jr. -- getting it done on every level. Huge respect for the man.

4. Why e-mail rules
Quick digression:

Got an e-mail missive from my boy Roberts last night. Seems he read last week's Cooler, which mentioned Seattle's Pleistocene Epoch designated hitter, Edgar Martinez. Turns out Roberts was in Seattle recently, at a joint owned by the Great Edgar. He caught sight of Martinez that evening, and reported:

"Had to chuckle when I saw the Martinez mention. When I saw him, he was one bar fight and a week's worth of Stuffed-Crust Domino's from doing a full 'Raging Bull' Jake LaMotta."

That's all. Just wanted to share.

5. If you ain't cheatin' ...
Either a) You're not trying; or b) Your name is not Harrick.

Jim Harrick
"We can't do that! We're already over the cap."
Jimmy Harrick! This guy cheats in gorgeous, old-school fashion. You want to win ballgames? Buy your top players killer TV sets! Loan 'em hundreds of dollars -- or so claims one of his current Georgia players! This is refreshing stuff. In a world wracked by the fear of war and terrorism, we've got Jimmy Harrick and Harrick fils warming our hearts, and reminding us that some time-honored traditions never change:

College hoops coaches still flat-out buy things for players.

He got caught buying killer lobster dinners at UCLA; he got caught doing something or other at Rhode Island; and now this, down in Georgia.

God bless this guy: He hung a banner in Pauley Pavilion (please, face West and genuflect) and floats plasma screens to guys who can shoot the 3. This is reassuring.

Just like a night of live sports from N.Y.C.

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.



Brian Murphy Archive

Murphy: A barren wasteland

Murphy: Tiger gets his Phil

Murphy: All-Star ogling

Murphy: Much ado about nothing

Murphy: Getting faced

Murphy: Fond farewell to an historic hellhole

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