Sports become less family friendly, again

While this story is a few days old, it brings up an important problem in sports-spectating today (the picture represents the reaction of Ms. Vasquez). We start off with the recent interview of Carmelo Anthony’s fiancée, Lala Vasquez concerning an incident at the Western semis Game 5 between her and a group of fans as posted on Mom Logic:

They began yelling ‘F*** the Nuggets!’ right in front of my son.” Then she says they started calling the Nuggets players “n*****s.” She was shocked. “I’ve been at a ton of games — but I have NEVER heard fans say things like that.” Then, looking directly at her while taunting Anthony on the court, Lala says the fans called her son a “bastard.”

While this seems a case taken to an extreme, it certainly isn’t so uncommon to anyone bringing their children to a game. Especially this year’s playoffs (with Mark Cuban dumping on somebody’s mom and children being tossed aside by large men) it seems like sports, specifically basketball, have become less and less family friendly.

OK, OK. I’m blowing this a little out of proportion, besides I’m a single, young guy. Why should I care about this anyway? Well, come on, some things belong in sports and some don’t. The kind of language and behavior I’m talking about goes far beyond anything acceptable at a bar, let alone a public all-ages event. So it’d be nice to see something done at least to dissuade people from unloading a salvo of vulgarity at the back of an 8-year-old’s head. What if they rise up against us? Look at that face up there and tell me you wouldn’t run for it.

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Couch Potato Alert: 5/15

It has been over 30 years, but is this finally the year that we’ll have another Triple Crown winner? Mine That Bird carries the hopes of the entire horse racing community into the Preakness on Saturday, as this sport desperately needs a feel-good story.

Sunday going to be a special day for all couch potatoes. We have an original six matchup in the NHL Western Conference final and not one but two Game 7’s in the NBA playoffs. Enjoy!

All times ET…

NBA Playoffs
Sun, 3:30 PM: Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
Sun, 8 PM: Orlando Magic @ Boston Celtics (TNT)

NHL Playoffs
Sun, 3 PM: Chicago Blackhawks @ Detroit Red Wings (NBC)

Sat, 4:10 PM: New York Mets @ San Francisco Giants (Fox)
Sun., 1 PM: Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: New York Mets @ San Francisco Giants (ESPN)

Horse Racing
Sat, 4:30 PM: The Preakness Stakes (NBC)

Foul taste: NBA admits refs’ error in Game 3

The NBA admitted the game officials were wrong for not calling an intentional foul on the Dallas Mavericks prior to Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony’s game-winning three-point shot on Saturday evening.

The Mavericks had a two-point lead and a foul to give. The play began with Anthony receiving the inbounds pass with less than eight seconds left in the game. Antoine Wright clearly body checks Anthony twice, but no whistle was blown. Melo kept playing and hits the three-pointer to give the Nuggets a 106-105 victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead.

After reviewing the game tape, NBA president of league and basketball operations, Joel Litvin, issued this statement:

“At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket.”

In the aftermath of a gambling scandal involving former referee Tim Donaghy, the NBA has been public to acknowledged officiating mistakes in playoff games. Last year, the league ruled a foul should have been called against Derek Fisher on Brent Barry’s three-point shot at the conclusion of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. The play was at the end of a two-point contest, and a foul could have given the Spurs a chance to win the game and even the series at two games apiece.

Couch Potato Alert: 4/17

John Madden was, um, colorful in the color analyst role on a NFL telecast. His catch phrases were the sound effects from the old Batman television series. After every play, you were guaranteed a “boom” or a “bam” from Madden in his description. He brought fun to the no fun league (NFL), and his name is synonymous in the gaming community for playing video football. And Madden was a maverick in another way; he left on top in two professions. He will be missed.

The NBA and NHL postseasons start this weekend, and there are a few good baseball games on the tube as well.

All times ET…

NBA Playoffs
Sat, 12:30 PM: Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics (ESPN)
Sat, 3 PM: Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers (ABC)
Sat, 8 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs (ESPN)
Sat, 10:30 PM: Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers (ESPN)
Sun, 3 PM: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
Sun, 5:30 PM: Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic (TNT)
Sun, 8 PM: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks (TNT)
Sun, 10:30 PM: New Orleans Hornets @ Denver Nuggets (TNT)

NHL Playoffs
Fri, 7 PM: Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins (Versus)
Fri, 10 PM: St. Louis Blues @ Vancouver Canucks (Versus)
Sat, 1 PM: New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals (NBC)
Sat, 8 PM: Montreal Canadiens @ Boston Bruins (Versus)
Sun, 3 PM: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers (NBC)
Sun, 7 PM: Vancouver Canucks @ St. Louis Blues (Versus)
Sun, 10 PM: Anaheim Ducks @ San Jose Sharks (Versus)

Sat, 3:40 PM: St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs (Fox)
Sun., 1 PM: Cleveland Indians @ New York Yankees (TBS)
Sun., 8 PM: St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs (ESPN)

NHL playoffs: Let’s get this party started!

There’s nothing that sounds quite like an NHL playoff game, except for maybe standing on the tarmac during a plane’s takeoff. The noise is constant from the pre-game skate to the final seconds on the clock. For the players and coaches, springtime means the start of the annual gauntlet run to the Stanley Cup.

This year, the Western Conference could provide more surprises in the early rounds than its Eastern counterpart. I have highlighted three series to keep an eye on for the first round.

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
An original six matchup — old Adams Division rivals will meet for the fourth time in the last seven postseasons. The Habs have won 24 of 31 all-time playoff series between the two teams, including the last three encounters (’02, ’04, ‘08). The key for the Canadiens is having a healthy D Andrei Markov back in the lineup. He led the team in scoring and was a key component at the point position on the power play. But they have sputtered since Markov went down with a lower-body injury on April 4th. The Big Bad Bruins have bullied the Canadiens in all six regular season contests, but they must refrain from taking stupid penalties. F Milan Lucic must control his emotions and play with his head on straight, as the referees will be watching him closely. What a banner season for the Bruins, as they had their best win total (53) since 1971-72 regular season en route to becoming the number one-seed in the Eastern Conference.

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