I’m not a sportswriter, but I have occasionally played one on TV. So today I’m bringing you both hoops and baseball.
CEASE AND DESIST
Because I don’t actually cover sports, I don’t have to be the least bit objective.
Go Cavs! Defend the Land!
There’s something else I hope will go, too. I want it to go a long, long way. So far away that we never hear it again.
It’s a phrase that makes me want to run my head into a moving pick by Draymond Green:
“Score the basketball.”
Radio and TV announcers say it. Coaches say it. Players say it. It’s the dumbest phrase in the history of sports.
What else is a player going to use to score in the sport of basketball? A football? A shuttlecock? The coach’s dry-erase board?
A basketball player is going to score. Period.
The Beacon Journal’s in-house database shows that the first use of “score the basketball” in my favorite newspaper came on Oct. 10, 2001, emerging from the redundant mouth of Jumaine Jones, a journeyman who had just been traded to the Cavs.
“My whole career I’ve always been looked at to score the basketball,” he told our Cavs writer, Chris Tomasson.
By 2008, LeBron had bought into the awful trend, telling our Brian Windhorst, “I pass too much to lead the league in scoring. I can do a lot more than score the basketball.”
That he can. He can also pass the basketball, catch the basketball, rebound the basketball, dribble the basketball and (not often, we hope) turn over the basketball.
Only in recent years, though, has the stupid phrase become omnipresent. (Are you listening, Campy Russell?)
Today, Google has 195,000 entries that contain “score the basketball.”
Stop! For the love of God, please stop!
SHRIMP TRUMPS DUCK
Since buying Akron’s minor-league baseball team from the boneheaded original owner, Mike Agganis, after the 2012 season, Ken Babby has rejuvenated the franchise.
He has spent megabucks on the ballpark, added great promotions and crazy food offerings and fully delivered on the promise of “affordable family fun.”
He has worked schools, civic organizations and other groups like a skilled politician. It’s no surprise attendance has shot back up from its all-time low in 2012.
Everything about the Indians’ AA affiliate is better, with one notable exception, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Babby, a 37-year-old firebrand who came to Akron after quitting an upper-management job at the Washington Post, is making the same winning moves with his second minor-league team, which he bought after the 2015 season.
During the past offseason, he renamed his new team, as he did here in 2013. But this time he got it right.
The Jacksonville Suns are now the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
Gotta love it. The logo is a bad-ass shrimp in the shape of a “J” atop a body of water.
So he’s 1-for-2 on renames. That’s a batting average of .500, which, if he were batting rather than naming, would qualify for superstar status.
Anyway, Babby is getting rave reviews in Florida, too.
The Jumbo Shrimp’s home opener drew unadulterated praise from the Jacksonville newspaper, the Florida Times-Union, which said attendance was 25 percent higher than on previous opening nights.
“The stadium was practically bursting with Jumbo Shrimp when the first pitch crossed the plate as eager fans waited in line outside to get through the gates,” wrote a reporter.
“Even more waited to get into the gift shop to buy anything with the adorable new logo.”
It is adorable.
The Akron logo? Well, at least the duck looks fierce. But no matter how you dress him up, a rubber duck is still a bath toy.
I wasn’t fond of the previous name, the Aeros, or the dominant color, purple (sorry, Barberton). Had the team been renamed, say, the Canal Rats, I would have bought a closetful of merch.
I haven’t paid for any rubber ducks. But I’m definitely gonna buy me a Jumbo Shrimp shirt.
I’ll wear the Shrimp shirt when I’m not wearing my Shump shirt.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.