NHL's handshake: Game's grossest example of insincerity

NHL's handshake: Game's grossest example of insincerity
May 15, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Wanna see a general manager’s head pop off? Of course you do. Even God wants to see that.
Ray Ratto

Michael Sam’s “reality show/documentary” is the first stupid idea he’s had, but not because it bothers football people. Screw football people. They’d have porn shoots in their locker room if the production company paid well enough and let the league have final script approval.

But those shows have a hidden side effect that people rarely notice until it’s too late –- it steals one of the three dimensions. The one called “depth.” Everything becomes a cardboard cutout, and the Michael Sam story is supposed to be about the reality of being confidently gay in America. This seems to diminish him a bit, and maybe that’s me being too charitable (now there’s a first). But not even Oprah Winfrey can keep a reality show from turning three dimensions into two, and sometimes even one.

That said, the NFL lets HBO in its locker rooms, and Showtime, and Nickelodeon, and National Geographic, and for all we know, Chelsea Handler. Oprah Winfrey’s people are not a stretch for them, and Jeff Fisher worked in Los Angeles, so he knows the deal too. I guess that’s just another way of saying “screw football people,” and I certainly wouldn’t want to be redundant here.

Maybe a little later.


Having been outfoxed by the subtleness of Joe (Where’s The Band? Where’s The Bloody Marching Band?) Lacob, the New York Knicks will consider Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue for their head coaching gig, according to both Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. And with Kerr, who was one of Michael Jordan’s adjuncts in Chicago, Lue, who performed the same duty though to a lesser extent for Kobe Bryant (well, one start in three years, if that counts), now reveals the new hot commodity –- the superstar’s running mate.

In other words, welcome your new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smush Parker.


Yahoo’s hockey maven Greg Wyshynski, a.k.a. Puck Daddy (and what are to make of the fact there is no known Puck Mommy?) thinks after Montreal finished off Boston Wednesday night that the NHL's handshake ritual is one of the game’s grossest examples of insincerity. He was clearly inspired by the Milan Lucic-Dale Weise post-competitive death threat/anger management fail or whatever the hell it was supposed to be. Hey, we were glad Lucic didn’t decide to slash every Canadien in the goolies as a way of saying, “See you in October, eunuchs.” That is, after all, his preferred method of communication.

But if we’re talking insincerity, we must then include their “upper body/lower body” injury connotations, their pregame, postgame and in-game quotes, the league’s stance on fighting and pretty much everything else the industry does on the record. In short, insincerity isn’t the problem here. Lucic is, because he couldn’t shut his oft-menacing pieflap after his team lost. If he really hasn’t the impulse control to manage a handshake, maybe he needs a different combination of medications.


Wanna see a general manager’s head pop off? Of course you do. Even God wants to see that. So Ben Lindbergh’s offering in Baseball Prospectus that it might be time for baseball to consider tying down promising pitchers to long-term deals AFTER they have been Tommy John-i-fied is just the party favor for you. An excerpt follows:

“The lengthy rest and rehab regimen they’re facing (or have already begun) would seem to put that speculation and discussion (about a long-term contract) on hold until they’re back on the mound in a major-league game. But maybe the long road back is exactly the right time for their teams to talk contract.

“The commonly cited recovery rate for Tommy John patients is roughly 85 percent, although as Glenn Fleisig noted at this year’s SABR Analytics Conference, the percentage among major-league pitchers may be somewhat lower—perhaps as low as three in four. This creates an opportunity for teams, who are better equipped to absorb the risk that a pitcher never comes back at close to full strength than the pitcher himself is. The team’s player portfolio is diversified, so it can survive, and even thrive, if one asset sinks. The player’s financial security, though, is tied to a single stock.

“We’ve seen many players sign extensions for less than they might have made otherwise, knowing that a major injury could wipe away their future earnings. How amenable might a pitcher be, then, to taking a life-changingly-large guaranteed payout after such an injury has occurred? He’d be selling himself low, but he’d also be avoiding the worst-case scenario that someone like Daniel Hudson (whose first TJ didn’t take) now faces: washing out without ever making much more than the major-league minimum.” There’s more, but that’s the gist. Enjoy.


Something else to enjoy, if you aren’t a baseball guy but a college football fan dying from inactivity, is this comparison of annoying New York phenomena to FBS programs you know and love, from the award-winning author, Action Cookbook. Examples:


“Okay the light's changing and -- oh geez -- alright let's go this wa- AHH MOVE ALREADY okay I think I scared that girl, now I feel bad but oh my god there's more of them where are they coming from I think I see an opening RUN FOR IT NOOOO COME ON IT'S JUST THE M&M STORE, GO IN OR DON'T BUT JUST LET ME THROUGH I JUST NEED TO GET TO THE SUBWAY okay I'm sorry let's just step into Pret a Manger I think I need to cry for a few minutes they just came out of nowhere and everything had been going so well today and then [sobbing]
MARKET MATCH: Stanford Cardinal.

And . . .


Okay, ladies and gentlemen WHAT TIME IS IT?

(clap) SHOWTIME!

(grudgingly draws your attention yet again)

(puts on surprisingly athletic and entertaining show)

(is interrupted by transit cops before they can finish)

(we all go back to our books and pretend we weren't enjoying it in the first place)

(same thing happens again next time)

MARKET MATCH: Oregon Ducks


Here are a bunch of reasons why the Steve Kerr and Mark Jackson contract comparisons are misleading, from Kevin Draper. Some of them make perfect sense, but you’re on your own here anyway.


And finally, two bits of World Cup news about two players who have to watch it on TV:

First, Italy boss Cesare Prandelli announced his 30-man provisional World Cup squad, and Genoa was so excited by the inclusion of striker Alberto Gilardino that it tweeted his triumph for the world to see. Only Prandelli didn’t take Gilardino, so like oops and stuff.

Compare this with France’s center back Sylvain Distin, who said he was retiring from international football after not making his country’s team. He tweeted, “I’m retiring from France team. It was a wonderful experience and after a record of #0 cap it’s time to say goodbye and focus on my club.”

Yes, he laughed and officially retired from a team he never made. If he tried that sort of thing on this continent, Milan Lucic would have speared him in the groin.