Humans as swap-meet items

Humans as swap-meet items
March 27, 2013, 11:00 pm
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The fun comes next, as the Flames start shipping out anyone with a desirable price tag. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Josh Pastner just signed an extension to stay the basketball coach at Memphis. Shaka Smart just signed a new deal to stay at Virginia Commonwealth. In other words, UCLA’s search for a new coach has already blown through the usual suspects and is searching the ionosphere for the latest inheritor of John Wooden’s crown.

What this tells us is that, history and location notwithstanding, UCLA actually isn’t a great job any more, at least not to the people who know the difference. The place needs someone who understands the value of the place, who loves the school as only someone who became entranced from afar, and who thinks the history can be both overcome and enhanced at the same time.

But then they fired Ben Howland, the perfect match for the requisite religious fervor, and now have to force themselves to fall in love with a third, fourth or fifth choice who will have two years to reinvent Wooden. Brutal, just brutal.

If nothing else, though, at least Shaka’s surname is also an adjective. We haven’t worked out how to torture the analogy for Pastner yet.

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Jarome Iginla has been traded to Pittsburgh, and is about to become three years younger. The Penguins got one more guy who doesn’t mind going into difficult places and delivering punishment to other guys’ faces, and the Flames . . . oh, who outside of Alberta gives a damn? The fun comes next, as the Flames start shipping out anyone with a desirable price tag. It’s like a garage sale, only where both the sellers and buyers are can-deep in snow and the best thing on the table is already gone. But at least the trade deadline is never demeaning or degrading. Yay humans as swap-meet items!

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I’d like to care about the feud between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, I really would. And I did when it as about two guys trying to run over each other while driving fast cars. But the feud was advanced this week after Hamlin, who suffered a back injury in last-lap crash with Logano last weekend at Fontana, decided to text Logano in search of a denouement. Which, of course, failed, because the modern driver is 11 years old.

“It didn't go well,” Hamlin told The Associated Press. “The conversation was both short and unproductive.”

Fine. Since electronic handbags didn’t work, maybe they can exchange Easter candy boxes over Instagram. And that’s why I don’t care about Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. And probably never will.

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I think it is fair to say based on the developments in Chicago Wednesday night that Erik Spoelstra actually is ruining the Miami Heat. Or LeBron James can’t win the big one. Or maybe . . . or maybe shut up. No, not maybe. Definitely. Definitely shut up.

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Steve Spurrier, case closed:

“I noticed both USCs had their pro timing day today. One of them finished No. 7 in the country, the other was not in the Top 25, yet ESPN decided to go out to the one in California which did not finish in the Top 25 and televise their day live. It’s interesting that ESPN doesn’t come around here on signing day, they don’t come around here on pro timing day and yet they want us to play all these Thursday night games. Maybe we need to consider playing on that new network, FoxSports 1.”

Yes. Definitely shut up.