This is Part 3 of an exchange between Jake Schaller and columnist David Ramsey. For Part 1, check the post below. Parts 2 and 4 are in Ramsey’s blog: http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com.
Ramsey, I can only imagine the language you heard when you were covering the Big East. But I also seem to remember some fairly colorful expressions being directed at you and Denver Post writer Irv Moss near the end of an Air Force practice in 2007 when Jeff Bzdelik morphed into Jeff Bleep-delik.
Anyhow, this is a classic example of someone getting caught (on tape) for something that probably happens multiple times during a season and goes unreported.
Alford and Tavernari reportedly made up (when Tavernari went to the New Mexico locker room to apologize), and that was the right thing for them to do.
But at the same time, as a fan, how much better would it be if they hadn’t? My interest in a potential New Mexico-BYU conference tournament final would have jumped about 1,000 percent.
This is why I always say my favorite sport to cover was boxing. Nearly all the pro boxers I covered had zero filter when it came to talking to the media about their opponents. They would tell you if they didn’t like who they were going to fight. They would tell you if they thought their opponent was a punk. They would tell you (sometimes in graphic detail) about the beat-down they had planned.
Here’s an excerpt from a story I wrote about Ricardo Mayorga – one of boxing’s bad boys (which, granted, is like saying someone is one of a beauty contest’s pretty people). It appeared in the Sept. 29, 2004 issue of The Washington Post, shortly before Mayorga’s bout with Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
Mayorga arrived at New York’s LaGuardia Airport last weekend with his hair dyed bright red and a shirt that had the date of Saturday’s fight with the message, “Tito’s Retirement Celebration. Time to hang them up.” And he bragged about a reported $100,000 bet he made with the 31-year-old Trinidad on their fight.
“It’s a real bet,” Mayorga said. “It’s not putting any sort of pressure on me. In fact, I’m going to make sure he pays me after the fight. With that money I’m going to buy myself a limousine, maybe two, in Nicaragua and name it Tito, so that everyone remembers when I knocked out Tito.”
Later, Mayorga predicted a knockout between rounds three and five. “I really don’t want to cause the Trinidad family any more grief,” he said.
(By the way, Trinidad dominated the fight, which was stopped in the eighth round).
Anyhow, what I’m saying is that Mountain West basketball could use a dash of boxing. Or at least some of the genuine dislike that permeated the Celtics-Pistons games of the late 1980s.
No, I’m not advocating players (or coaches) throwing punches or violence of any kind. And you don’t want people calling each other out and talking trash non-stop. But it’s OK for teams not to like each other. That makes everything more fun.