Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press reveals what the Detroit Red Wings do to unwind when they’re not playing.
Are you ready for chess?
“You ask them about a particularly hard check in last night’s game, and they’re liable to say, ‘It wasn’t that hard. I just shifted my king and took his bishop. Checkmate.’
“Let’s face it. Only hockey gives you this. A bunch of guys with scars and missing teeth gathered around the chessboard is either the greatest endorsement for the NHL, or a sure sign the players have taken too many blows to the head.”
Trivia time: Who holds the record for minutes played in an NBA finals game?
Lakers don’t get it? Bob Ryan in the Boston Globe: “You heard so much about Utah’s incessant use of the pick-and-roll in Los Angeles. Well, guess what. Chicago isn’t Los Angeles.
“The Lakers are an immature team that still can’t be bothered about learning how to play basketball. Rick Fox is probably the only player on that team who understands why they lost.”
Might Ryan be slightly biased since Fox is a former Celtic?
Big 12 to Little? Randy Galloway in the Dallas Morning News: “In the wake of the WAC-doom, stay tuned for bigger skyscrapers to come tumbling down.
“The Big 12 falls next.
“Face facts: The Big 12 was a good idea that is not working, no longer has a chance to work, and for the good of one and all, consider this conference as a grenade waiting to be pulled.”
Incredulous: The San Francisco Giants’ Brent Mayne was on deck when Arizona Diamondback Manager Buck Showalter ordered his pitcher to give Barry Bonds an intentional walk with the bases loaded. There were two out in the ninth inning with Arizona leading, 8-6.
Said Mayne: “I’ve never seen anything like that. Maybe in Little League--if a guy is batting .900 or something.”
Mayne then flied out and Arizona held on to win, 8-7.
Limited market: Denver Nugget General Manager Dan Issel, commenting on Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan:
“There’s a publicity vacuum here in the Rocky Mountains. If Jerry was in a major market like New York or L.A., or Chicago, he’d be considered the greatest coach since Red Auerbach, just like Phil [Jackson] is.”
Looking back: On this day in 1952, Jersey Joe Walcott won a 15-round unanimous decision over Ezzard Charles in Philadelphia to retain the world heavyweight title.
Trivia answer: Kevin Johnson of Phoenix, 62 minutes in a three-overtime game against Chicago on June 13, 1993.
And finally: Cleveland Indian Manager Mike Hargrove on a 483-foot home run by Jim Thome last Sunday that landed in a restaurant in center field at Toronto’s SkyDome:
“I think the ball ended up in somebody’s Caesar salad as one big crouton.”