MORNING COFFEE, WITH MONTE AND ME….by the Sports Philosopher

March 13, 2011
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TSP:           Haven’t done a column with you in awhile, my boy.  Sorry about that. 

MONTE:    Woof.

TSP:           Seriously.   Cut me some slack.  I’ve had a lot going on lately.

  *Monte can no longer hide his love for the defending champion Giants*

*Monte can no longer hide his love for the defending champion Giants*


    Do you mean a lot going on with your fabulous book—WHERE GODS GAMBLE, available now through in both beautiful paperback and hardcover—going into print?










TSP:           Yes, that’s right.

MONTE:    I haven’t read it yet.  I’m waiting for it to go to video….

TSP:           That’s okay.  Free country.

MONTE:    But I did the stupid plug for you, o’ shameless one, so what do I get?

TSP:           My gratitude.

MONTE:    You can’t eat gratitude.

TSP:           Stop it.  Let’s talk a little sports, that’s what we’re paid for.  Tell me, sports-wise, what’s been floating your milk bone of late?

MONTE:   Before we get into that, is it true they gave that guy $20 million dollars?

TSP:          Yeah, that’s right.  Mike Vick just signed for $20 million.       

MONTE:   For one season?

TSP:           That’s right.

MONTE:    The killer???

TSP:           I thought you’d gotten past all that.

MONTE:   I’ll never get past it.

TSP:          Well, you might get your revenge after all.  Neither Vick nor anyone else in shoulder pads might earn a single dollar in 2011.  The NFL owners just locked the players out, there might not even be any pro football this year.

MONTE:   Really?  Why not?

TSP:          Sorry.  It’s my policy in this column to only discuss sports where the players and executives actually  care about the fans that made them wealthy.  Let’s change the subject.  Any thoughts on basketball?

MONTE:   The Lakers look tired.  I know how they feel.  I turned ten last month, you know.

TSP:           I know.  Who do you think sprang for the expensive wet dog food with extra beef chunks?

MONTE:   Do you think the Lakers can three-peat?  Or are they done.

TSP:           You’re right, they do look tired.  Looks bad.  And they not only look tired to me, but also a little too well-fed.  They got their back-to-back titles, and now they don’t seem like they are either willing or able to try hard enough on the defensive end to get a third.  They look old.  Hope I’m wrong.

MONTE:   Kobe IS old.  In basketball years at least.  He’s played more games in his career than Wilt did, or Baylor, or Jerry West, or Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson.  His knees are like my hips.  Shot. 

TSP:          That said, I’m gonna predict a Lakers/Celtics final.  History demands it.

MONTE:   History demands it?  Please explain, dear philosopher….

TSP:           Glad to.  Everything has been building towards this transcendent conflagration for four years.  It’s a potential nuclear summit meeting of the two greatest basketball franchises of all time.  The greatest rivalry in any sport.  The Celtics won the title in ’08, beating the Lakers, then Garnett got hurt in ’09 so the Lakers won all-but-unopposed, then last year the Lakers got their revenge and beat the Celtics in seven epic games.  It’s tied, one to one.  And now this year is legendary coach Phil Jackson’s last, Celtics coach Doc Rivers threatens to quit every year himself, these are the two best teams in basketball but also the two oldest, Garnett is old, Ray Allen is old, Paul Pierce is old, Shaq is the oldest player in the league, Kobe is almost old, Gasol and Odom are getting old and playing old, Artest is old, and Fisher is beyond old….this is the last chance for either of these teams to win a title as presently constituted.  And if the Lakers win the title it would be Kobe’s 6th, tying him with both Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan.  It would be Jackson’s 12th, four non-consecutive three-peats with two different franchises.  Unbelievable.  It would be Shaq vs. Kobe, two old teammates and adversaries pitched against each other on separate teams in the finals for the first and last time, in a dramatic career-ending showdown.  At least career-ending for Shaq, the old whale….And whoever wins what may be literally the last Lakers/Celtics finals until the year 2025 or so will be even a bigger winner historically, it will be two championships to one during the Kobe/Phil Era, and bragging rights to this era for all time.  This is the Last Hurrah.  They have to meet in the finals.  History demands it, my black furry friend.  History demands it.

MONTE:    I stopped listening at ‘transcendent conflagration’….  

TSP:           I am worried about golf, though.  Tiger Woods ruined it.

MONTE:   How?  Is he spearheading a labor dispute too?  Is he getting old too?  Did he murder some of my exalted brethren in his spare time too, to burn off the excess energy from his bottled-up sexual frustrations?

TSP:           Nope.  Nothing like that.   He’s just no good.

MONTE:   No good?  He’s no good?  He’s really no good?

TSP:           Take it easy, Linda Ronstadt.  What I mean is he’s no longer great.  He never wins.  He never threatens to win.  His swashbuckling swagger is gone forever.  And his fall from both grace and the top of the golfing mountain has taken all the fun out of the PGA. 

MONTE:   I know what you mean.  I hardly ever turn the TV to golf on a Sunday afternoon anymore, because I know he’s not going to be on the leader board.

TSP:           People like dominance, ‘dog.  People liked following Tiger’s relentless march towards breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.  Now, for the first time, I don’t think he’ll break that record. 

MONTE:   Do you want him to?

TSP:           Not necessarily.  I just think Sports is better when History is on the line.  Like the Lakers/Celtics thing.  Who wants a golf world where the unknown Martin Kaymer is ranked #1, where the talented but thin-skinned Phil Mickelson refuses to step up and become #1, where Tiger is impotent, and where a guy called Luke Donald is ranked higher than Tiger?  It’s depressing.           

MONTE:   So you’re saying you’re not going to watch the Masters next month?

TSP:           I didn’t say that.  Are you crazy?

MONTE:   Just a little confused.  And don’t call me dog.

TSP:           Let’s wrap this up with the only sport that really matters….

MONTE:    I was wondering how long you could hold out before mentioning the Giants.

TSP:           You mean the defending world champion San Francisco Giants, don’t you?

MONTE:   Whatever.

TSP:           You promised.  A bet’s a bet.  Go on….say it.

MONTE:   Okay, okay.  Do you think the defending world champion San Francisco Giants can defend their World Series title in 2011, my lord my liege my god???

TSP:            That’s better.  That’ll teach you to bet on sports against the Sports Philosopher.

MONTE:    Are we gonna talk sports or gloat?

TSP:           So talk then.   

MONTE:    I don’t think the Giants are going to repeat.

TSP:           Uh, ahem….

MONTE:    Excuse me, I don’t think the defending world champion San Francisco Giants are going to repeat.  The numbers don’t add up.             

TSP:           Doesn’t matter.  They finally won it all in 2010, and I was alive at the time.  That’s the only mathematics that matters to me.  I still can’t believe it.

MONTE:   Philadelphia might have just bought themselves a title by signing Cliff Lee.  And there are several other teams that have improved themselves a lot more in the off-season than the defending world champion San Francisco Giants.  Including the Dodgers.

TSP:           Uh, the who?   

MONTE:   Excuse me.  I mean including the haven’t-won-a-darn-thing-since-1988-miserable-misbegotten-lowlife Dodgers….

TSP:           Doesn’t matter.  As long as the Champs contend all year, I’ll have fun.  And their pitching says they will contend.   

MONTE:    Sounds like you are prepared to rest on your laurels. 

TSP:           I’m content.   

MONTE:   I’m hungry.  Are we done?  

TSP:          Opening Day is right around the corner.  So I guess the only thing left to say is, “Play Ball!” 



MONTE:   Famous last words.  You haven’t thrown me the tennis ball in weeks….



image0025The Sports Philosopher:

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered literary icon, and a loyal friend to his adorable black dog.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on, or….









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