The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER asks LaVerne Nation: “Is It Just Me???” — Brad Eastland reporting …

June 12, 2011
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     Sometimes when I watch sports on TV certain things, certain trends, various axioms of Sport and Life, seem obvious.   Obvious.   But then again, if everything was so obvious, even the obviously obvious, then everybody would agree on everything.   Obviously.   (Roll that one around in your head for awhile….)

     But it got me to wondering….is it just me?



     For instance:

     Is it just me, or did the NBA Finals evolve into a good (the Dallas Mavericks) versus evil (the Miami Heat) kind of thing?

     Is it just me, or has LeBron James evolved (or rather devolved) from a grounded, humble, classy home-town Akron, Ohio kid who actually liked playing for his native nearby Cleveland, into a spoiled, arrogant, me-first, entitlement-drenched, full of himself, immature little prick worthy of our hate?

     Is it just me, or does Dirk Nowitzky appear, to the naked eye, to be just about the slowest, geekiest, clumsiest, most awkward looking nailed-to-the-floor and I guess you could call him “clunky” basketball player who most people consider to be a great player you’ve ever seen?

     Is it just me, or is Nowitzky also just that, a truly GREAT basketball player who, unlike LeBron James, is both always classy and always even better than he normally is in the 4th quarter?

     Is it just me, or was the Mavs’ upset of the heavily favored Heat to virtually steal the NBA title further evidence that there is a god?

     Is it just me, or is gasoline climbing to over $4.00 a gallon further evidence that the Apocalypse is upon us?  (I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Sports, but I just thought it was worth mentioning….)

     Is it just me, or are the Yankees—with Andy Pettitte retired, Jorge Posada washed up, Derek Jeter a shell of his former self, and Alex Rodriguez becoming more of an under-achieving prima donna with every passing day—seeing their championship window closing and therefore this will be their last shot to win it all for at least a decade?

     Is it just me, or are the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants—the worst offensive team in the National League but still in first place—the most heartwarming bunch of never-say-die over-achievers in recent baseball history?   This team is a healthy 8 games over .500 but has actually scored less runs this year than they’ve given up!   The only time they seem to be able to get a hit is in the 9th inning with the game on the line.   They lead the majors in walk-off game-winning hits, and have the best record in baseball in one-run games.   Gotta love ‘em.    

     Is it just me, or has baseball’s operating for the last 40 years with one league using a designated hitter and the other better (as in more genuine) league abhorring it made you feel sort of unclean?

     Is it just me, or are there simply too many teams in pro baseball, too many teams in pro basketball, and too many teams in pro football?  (–Which simply dilutes the talent across the board?)

     Is it just me, or do pro basketball and baseball both have too many playoff rounds because of having all those unnecessary extra teams?

     Is it just me, or are the reasons for the above two items the greed of pro sports owners?

     Is it just me (speaking of greed), or doesn’t it seem, without truly understanding all the details and intricacies, like it’s the owners—not the players—who are mainly at fault for the current NFL labor impasse and possible lost season?   Seems like the players are mainly looking out for their short-term health (no 18-game season) and long-term health (a far better pension plan than the crummy one they have).   Conversely, it feels like the owners are simply behaving like a bunch of greedy old billionaires determined to be even greedier than usual, even though most of them will probably be dead in a few years….

     Is it just me, or is it only a matter of time before Roger Federer puts out a hit contract on Rafael Nadal?

     Is it just me, or is it possible that there are less than 20 people among the several thousand LVO-ers like you who subscribe to the weekly newsletter featuring this fine column who care about (or can even name) the two teams currently competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup?

     Is it just me, or is it possible the number of people in LaVerne Nation who actually care about the Stanley Cup is even less than 20?   Less than 10?   Less than one?

     Is it just me, or is it likely that at least 30% of the people who are reading this right now have no idea that the Stanley Cup refers to the championship of pro hockey?

     And finally, is it just me?   Or was Tiger Woods’ shocking withdrawal from this week’s upcoming U.S. Open not merely the latest chapter in his reckless, embarrassing, free-fall tumble from high atop the Olympus of golf, but also, potentially, a foreshadowing of something bigger?   Retirement?   More greedy pudgy ex-lovers?   A complete emotional breakdown?   Well, maybe not.   Maybe he’ll be fine.   But I do know that there are people out there who root for that sort of thing.   This is America, after all.   We like to see the fat cats fail once in awhile.   Don’t we?   Don’t you?  

     Or is it just me.

meet….The Sports Philosopher!image0022

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered fictioneer, and connoisseur of ball park food.   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…it’s easy!




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