THE VAULT

Sports Monkey: Sorry St. Louis
November 1, 2006 by Damien Atlas Sports Monkey

So, I have to apologize to the Saint Louis Cardinals’ fans. They actually won.

The method I used to predict the Series wasn’t exactly scientific. A theoretical fistfight between the mascots of two teams can be used to determine a lot of things; the winner of the World Series is not one of them. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll restrict my mascot Ultimate Fight fantasies to determining Divisional Series.

I hate to come out of my first column for Slantmouth a loser. I feel I have to redeem myself. The first column ended like Rocky I. A large black guy didn’t pummel me, but I still feel like I’m peeling myself off the mat.

This column is going to be my Rocky II. I’m going to come out on top this time. Hopefully, we won’t have to keep up this Rocky trend. I don’t want to have to feature Mr. T in the next column.

With the NBA season tipping off this past Tuesday night I’ll give you guys a basketball prediction. I know it might be early, but I’ve got my hands on a real loser here.

You know who won’t be winning the NBA title this year? The Miami Heat.

I never like to doubt the heart of a champion, but half the hearts on this team might give out before the All-Star break. Professional sports are a young man’s game. A few guys might be able to slip through the cracks and play at a high level until they’re nearly forty but players like that are few and far between. Even some of those guys only play because they left their testicles under their pillow for the Steroid Fairy.

The current Heat team was built to win one championship and they’ve done that. They won’t be winning anymore with this lineup. When Gary “The Glove” Payton, at this stage of his career, is a starter you’re in trouble. The only glove Payton will be seeing this year is during his prostate exam. He made some big shots in the playoffs last year but I’m not counting on a big contribution from him.

Shaq isn’t what he used to be. He hasn’t taken a back seat to Dwayne Wade just because there are more important things than being “The Man”. Dwayne Wade is the best player on that team and Shaq can’t consistently put up big numbers anymore. He didn’t do it during last season’s playoff run and he’s not going to do it this year. You need a little bit more from your number two guy. Trust me, I know. I’m a number two guy. (I promise, the obligatory monkey jokes will stop eventually. Right now, I still can’t help it. It’s in my nature.)

As Shaq gets older it’s going to be harder for him to stay in shape. If he plays out the remaining four years of his contract, by the end, he’s going to come out on the court in one of those motorized handicap scooters, wearing a one-piece jersey/moo moo. I pray for the team trainer that’s going to sponge bathe him after games. The poor bastard.

I know it’s cheap to predict who won’t win a championship at the beginning of the season, especially after they lose their first game by forty-two points, but sometimes the sequel just isn’t as good as the original.

~Damien Atlas Sports Monkey