BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
1) It would be amazing if Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky would have played during the "Original Six" era facing his idol Gordie Howe on a regular basis. Would Gretzky have scored a record 894 goals in 20 seasons? I doubt it because these teams faced each other so much therefore there was no need to watch film or video. In many cases, these teams played back-to-back games on successive nights. I believe Gretzky would have lit the lamp 600 times. Like so many legends during Howe's era, Gretzky would have been a part of the "Gordie Howe Hat-trick" (goal, assist, and fight). He would have been the recipient of Howe's elbows like I was in this photo taken at the Pontiac Silverdome with Howe and Detroit Lions legendary broadcaster the late Bob Reynolds at www.scottsports33.com
2) Speaking of longevity, NASCAR's Mark Martin appeared in his 1000th National Touring Event Saturday August 22nd at Bristol Motor Speedway. Even though Martin hasn't won a championship or Daytona 500, the Arkansas native has won the respect of his peers and compassion of his fans. He did win the pole for this year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis and finished second at the famed race track.
3) It would be amazing if the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Texans reached the playoffs. These are the only two teams in the four major sports that haven't participated in the postseason. During the past two seasons, the Texans have finished 8-8 under Coach Gary Kubiak while Bobcats boss Larry Brown had Charlotte in the playoff hunt during the 2008-09 season.
4) The only way we'll ever see a Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson fight is in video games. I can only imagine how much the pay per view cost would be if Ali would have battled Tyson in his prime. If the fights would have been as great as the three Joe Frazier/ Ali contests, ESPN Classic would have plenty to show. I do believe that Ali would have outclassed and outsmarted Tyson as he did when he won the heavyweight title from a brawler named George Foreman in an eighth round knockout on Oct 30, 1974 during what was known as "The Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire. Ali used his famous "Rope A Dope" to wear out Foreman and would have duplicated that strategy against Tyson.
5) Now that I'm in the video game twilight zone about match ups we wish we could have seen, lets add another one and that's Foreman versus Mike Tyson. When Foreman entered the Ali fight, he was 40-0. When Tyson lost to 42 to 1 underdog Buster Douglas, on February 11, 1990, he was 37-0. I believe that the 6-3 1/2 Foreman would have destroyed Tyson, who was 5-11 1/2 because of his four inch height advantage and relentless power. Foreman knocked out past heavyweight champions Frazier and Ken Norton in two rounds. I don't think Tyson would have lasted four rounds against Foreman.
6) Ozzie Guillen managing against the late Billy Martin would have been fun to watch. I've always thought of Guillen as the Latin version of Martin because if a pitcher threw at either of these managers players, they'd have been ordered to retaliate. Martin was never afraid to get in his own players face. Just ask Reggie Jackson when they were both with the New York Yankees. Guillen barks at his players when they make mistakes plus he's colorful with the media. Martin and Guillen won championships with the Yankees and White Sox as managers. The closest we have to a Martin versus Guillen is Ozzie facing Lou Piniella's Cubs. Piniella played for Martin with the Yankees and learned how to manage from Billy. Piniella's antics to get ejected are similar to Martin's and Lou did manage the Cincinnati Reds to a championship.
7) Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton should ease off the criticism of his old team and accept the fact that Brett Favre has a chance to do something he wasn't able to do and that's win a Super Bowl in the Twin Cities. Tarkenton couldn't win the big game with talented running back Chuck Foreman and the "Purple People Eaters" defense. But if Favre makes the most of rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin and star running back Adrian Peterson, it could be a great ride in the State of 10,000 Lakes. If Favre still has the passion to play, then more power to him. The Vikings and the NFL will gain more revenue in jersey sales and Favre will put people in the seats during a slow economy. Favre's consecutive games and total yards records will be tougher to break. I wish him well.
8) The NCAA's decision to have teams shake each others hands before games makes me realize that this organization is made up of a bunch of clowns. We all know by now that they can't even determine their national championship on the field with the lack of a playoff system or the worst case scenario by adding another game and creating their own version of a final four. With all the rivalries in college football, can you imagine Michigan/ Ohio State, Florida/Florida State, Texas/Oklahoma, and Notre Dame/ USC. I can't see new Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin embracing the Gators before a game that the Gators would want to win 100-0 since Kiffin has done a tremendous job angering Gator Nation by accusing them of recruiting violations, when in retrospect, it was Kiffin who didn't know the rules. I have no problem with sportsmanship! But this is unrealistic.
9) Seattle Mariners Skipper Don Wakamatsu should get strong consideration for Manager of the Year. Last season, Seattle finished with a 61-101 record and finished the year 39 games behind AL West winner the LA Angels. By the time of this post, Seattle is 68-62 and nine games back behind the Angels. The return of Ken Griffey Jr. was a great move at the gate to bring home the greatest player in franchise history. To date, Griffey Jr. has 14 homers and 625 in his career.
10) How much stature does the No. 9 have in Detroit? Consider the fact that Gordie Howe wore it with the Red Wings and it's retired at Joe Louis Arena. Now Detroit Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford is wearing it. This is pressure!
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his web-site is www.scottsports33.com
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