Posted by: mdegeorge | June 4, 2010

Weekly Diagnosis: 6/4

It has been a week few will soon forget—I think someone on the Tigers did something important or controversial or something. But there’s more from the files of the bizarre, funny, and heroic from this week in sports.

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A summer day down the toilet

With the job market the way it is, there are plenty of students out there looking for any kind of job. For 250 college students looking for temporary labor in the Pittsburgh area, at least one opportunity has popped us thanks to the Penguins.

Students are needed to help the Penguins test the plumbing in their new home, the Consol Energy Center, by flushing all 400-some toilets simultaneously. And the Pens are out there looking for the best and the brightest flushers.

I wonder why college students are those targeted. Maybe it’s because they have the most time on their hands. Maybe it’s because they are more regular than most of the population and have more toilet experience. If they wanted volunteers to flush toilets, they should have just taken disgruntled fans leaving Game 7 against the Canadiens this year. One big flush would have been a perfect way for Pens’ fans to get over that crappy performance.Men’s National Team?

The Mexican National Team got a dose of controversy less than two weeks before the World Cup Finals opens thanks to head coach Javier Aguirre’s choice of his final 23-man roster.

One of the final three cut was Jonathan Dos Santos, a young and promising midfield talent who plays his club football with Barcelona, mainly on the reserve team. His brother, Giovanni, was included in the squad despite recent struggles at the club level.

The elder Dos Santos is now unsure whether or not he will participate in the Finals or stay home in a show of familial solidarity. Their father, Zizinho, himself a former player in the South American ranks, believes both sons should announce their international retirement and refuse to play for the national team again.

The ironic part of this situation: if we go strictly by the numbers and Giovanni decides not to go to South Africa, the next best fit to assume his role would be none other than his brother!

It looks now like Giovanni is done pouting and will make the Finals appearance after all, which is a good decision considering his rapid loss of form for club would see him into the Mexican third division by the time 2014 rolls around.

But seriously, word from Mexican training camp is that Giovanni’s father will allow him to play, but he can’t go to the pizza (or possibly taco) party after the games with all the other kids. And Zizinho will sit with the other team’s fans and secretly root against everyone but his son. I just hope he doesn’t run onto the pitch and pull his kid off if he doesn’t get to play.

Trying doing that in one of your suits

Ron MacLean has long been a hero. The host, moderator, and chief anger diffuser of CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada”, has saved the ears and sensibilities of countless Canadians from the assaults of the gaudily attired, hot-headed Don Cherry through the years. (Side note: if you’re looking for a screen saver and conversation starter as the new person in the office, rip a bunch of pictures of Cherry in his many extravagant suits off the Internet and set the screensaver to rotate through them randomly. They will capture the attention of anyone near your desk, man or woman. Have the story trying to explain Cherry ready).

Anyway, MacLean’s heroism was on full display yesterday in Philadelphia when he and Cherry were dining on the Delaware River waterfront while in town for the Stanley Cup Finals. During their lunch, a woman came up to MacLean and others asking for help pulling someone from the river. MacLean astutely reached for a velvet rope that was nearby and along with other rescuers on the scene helped pull the man out of the river.

The mild-mannered MacLean was characteristically dismissive of heroism claims. But it’s about time he got some press in the United States. I just wish it was for his straight-forward, no frills, broadcast acumen rather than his best Bear Grylls impersonation.

Final-ly, all the Commishes wanted

It had to happen eventually. We are in the midst of the perfect storm for television networks.

Reports have been coming in all week about the fanfare with which both the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals are receiving.

In the NHL, Games 1, 2, and 3 have all received record viewership numbers thus far, and early indications are that Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be very strong as well.

The thought of Gary Bettman and David Stern in their respective offices counting their money and their blessings at the teams involved is almost sickening. The NBA gets their marquee matchup between media markets two and five and the all-time grudge match between its two biggest teams.

The NHL gets an Original Six city, a first round of expansion city, the third and fourth biggest media markets, and two cities trying to end cup droughts of over two decades. Outside of last year’s rematch and two straight years of small but loyal markets in the finals, they must love it.

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