A few reflections on a busy sports weekend: Yes, in the midst of a tricycle race, several T-shirt giveaways, a ceremony honoring a great team, a few blimp flyovers, several technical fouls and a shower of Bill Walton dolls, they played a whale of a basketball game in the Rose Garden on Sunday afternoon. É Funny, though, but I swear it never used to take 3 hours and 19 minutes. É I understand the people throwing those Walton dolls onto the court, by the way. That's one ugly doll right there. É Good thing they weren't giving away paperweights, though. É If Kobe Bryant goes 6 for 15 with six turnovers in every game, the Blazers can beat the Lakers in a playoff series.
Nothing like veteran leadership, I always say. You'd figure Scottie Pippen to be the guy who would somehow figure out a way to calm his wild and crazy teammates down once in a while. But I think over time it's worked the other way, that his goofy teammates have rubbed off on Pippen. I mean, is that the move of a 15-year veteran to fire a ball up into the stands after a bad call? É Why don't you just send a written request to be kicked out of the game?
The appearance of former Blazer personnel guru Stu Inman at the ceremony honoring Portland's only championship team was his first visit to the Rose Garden, by the way. É Dave Twardzik and his wife, Kathe, came for the ceremony but had to fly home to Virginia on Saturday because Twardzik's mother was ill. É Speaking of Twardzik, he'd love to return to Portland, and if Portland State hasn't spoken to him about succeeding basketball coach Joel Sobotka, it ought to Ñ he'd do a terrific job. He's way too talented not to be coaching somewhere.
Speaking of Portland State, is it too late for that school to think about going back to Division II? No offense, but they were able to compete for national championships in Division II and had found a niche. É Can you imagine, though, a school trying to play Division I basketball in a gym that seats 1,100? That's ridiculous. É While they're at it, they ought to reinstate baseball, too Ñ the only sport they had where they could compete in Division I.
The Portland Beavers opened to a nice crowd Friday on a chilly evening, and the new operators already seem to know how to run a game and a ballpark much better than their predecessors. And, oh yes, last week I quoted Portland Family Entertainment investor Scott Thomason saying that he couldn't remember how much money the team lost last season but that $10 million sounded 'a little high.' É Just to refresh your memory, Scott, my inside sources tell me it was $10.6 million. É And people all over sports, not just baseball, are still shaking their heads over a minor-league baseball team losing that much dough. Seriously, nobody can believe it. É Hey, Scott Ñ if you don't see me today, I can't save you any money.