Friday, March 20, 2009

Picture, Picture and Picture

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
If there was ever a time to have picture, picture and picture on my television it was Tuesday, March 17, 2009.
Versus had a great NHL match-up featuring the Detroit Red Wings & Philadelphia Flyers. The Red Wings won this game 3-2.
The obvious intrigue here was Philadelphia hasn't won at the Joe Louis Arena since 1988, spanning 18 games with the Flyers 0-16-2. Included in the streak were two Red Wings wins in the 1997 Finals which enabled Detroit to snap a long Stanley Cup Championship drought. The Red Wings clinched the title by winning Game 4 in Motown.
Even when the Flyers were winning Stanley Cups as the Broadstreet Bullies in the mid 1970s and leading the league in penalty minutes, the Red Wings were second in trips to the Sin Bin with Bryan “Bugsy” Watson camping out there in Historic Olympia Stadium.
The second half of the picture equation was watching ESPN & ABC Play By Play Announcer Brent Musberger coming full circle by calling an intriguing NCAA Basketball Tournament Game.
This time Musberger was at the microphone in Dayton, Ohio., for an NCAA Tournament "Play In" contest featuring The Morehead State, KY., Eagles versus the Alabama State University Hornets. We're not talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide located in Tuscaloosa or the Auburn Tigers. We're talking about Alabama State which is located where the Detroit Tigers once had a AA minor league team in Montgomery, Alabama. The Hornets have more than 5,000 students from 42 states and seven countries and a third of the enrollment are non Alabama residents.
Morehead State (20-15) defeated Alabama State (22-10) 58-43 and now have the thankless task of facing the top team in the NCAA Tournament, the Louisville Cardinals (28-5), a team which is projected by many to reach the Finals in Detroit on Monday April 6th.
Prior to March 17th, I had never heard of Alabama State. The only thing that I knew about Morehead State was the university produced New York Giants legendary QB Phil Simms.
Finally, the patriotic side of me was monitoring the rematch of Puerto Rico versus the USA in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in Miami, Florida.
After an embarrassing 11-1 mercy rule loss on Saturday, the USA scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to advance to the WBC semifinals in Los Angeles with a 6-5 win.
Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson was inserted as a pinch runner in the only move USA Manager Davey Johnson could make with an injury depleted roster. The heroics of New York Mets third baseman David Wright's game winning hit will now give Johnson a few more days to replace the injured players with healthy ones in the USA's quest for a WBC Championship.
In 1984, I had the pleasure of seeing an Olympic Baseball Game at Dodger Stadium featuring the Korean National team in Los Angeles.
What a night of sports viewing as the remote received a workout harder than a person would get at a fitness facility.
Furthermore, Versus did a nice job watching New Jersey Devils future Hall of Fame Goaltender Martin Brodeur's final moments in eclipsing Patrick Roy's victory mark with 552.
Brodeur's accomplishment could be compared to those of Brett Favre's 169 wins as a starting QB, Richard Petty's 200 checkered flags in NASCAR or Warren Spahn's 363 triumph's in baseball's live ball era.
The only thing we don't know about Brodeur is where his victory total will end.
I've always seen nets get cut down in basketball but not in hockey. This could be the start of a new tradition for a team's trophy case just like kissing the bricks has become a tradition at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.
Since he defended both nets, Brodeur should have cut both.
But all in all, it was a great night to watch three different sports that had unique story lines.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at Scottsports33@aol.com.

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