Diary of a Sports Madman

North County 5/4/94


Editor’s Note: Since Jim Campion has been committed to an institution for rehab resulting from last Sunday’s 12 hour marathon in front of the tube watching sports, we present these excerpts from a running diary of a sports madman.

12:35 – They’ve just tipped off at the Garden for Knicks/Nets game two. The comforting tones of Marv Albert’s voice fills my room. The curtains are drawn, the fridge is working, and the answering machine is fired up. There is a remote control in my right hand. I’m coming to life.

12:50 – The Nets are having trouble with the Knicks trap at the key. I’m having trouble dealing with some of the Knicks haircuts. Wait, here comes John Starks into the game. The crowd is on its feet, Spike Lee is psyched; and look at that, he has hair on his head!

1:12 – Devils/Bruins Game one is underway. It looks like people actually showed up at the Meadowlands to watch. Both teams look sluggish after their first-round, seven-game battles. I’m feeling a little sluggish, so I head to the fridge. A bruised apple and a half a carton of milk? This is no way to survive a marathon of sports action! Of all the cruel twisted of fate, why has this befallen me?!

My cat is trying to get my attention by rolling on his back and looking cute. Must be hungry. Well, he isn’t the only one. “It’s play-off time, you ungrateful feline!” I yell at him. “Show some guts!”

1:41 – Mets/Dodgers from Shea Stadium. It looks sunny and warm. Maybe I should step outside, open a window. Too much trouble. Tim McCarver and Ralph Kiner are discussing possibility of a juiced ball this year: “Homers are flying out of ballparks at a record pace, Ralph.” “I don’t care what those Rawlings people say, it’s a lively baseball.” “Do you realize that only two other months in major league history had more home runs hit than this past April?” “I hit a few dingers in my day, Tim, and I’ve never seen a ball jump off a bat like that.” “Perhaps it’s the bats?” Everyone’s bat?” Todd Hundley, who hit 11 homers all last season, smacks his seventh over the right-centerfield wall for a 1-1 tie.

1:47 – Patrick Ewing gets thrown out of the game with a few minutes left in the first half when Derrick Coleman sends him flying with a body block. Ewing looks as confused as I am. Nets look confident. The Garden faithful erupt in derisive cheers. Charles Oakley, shirttail out, bald head gleaming with sweat, is throwing his body around like a stunt man out of control. Knicks go on a 12-2 run to open up a 22-point lead at the half.

2:10 – First period is over in Jersey and it’s 2-1 Bruins. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur looks like a guy who’s tried interviewing Madonna on national television. Phone rings. Machine answers. It’s my mother. “Eat something that doesn’t fit between bread for a change.” My modest kingdom for a sandwich.

2:35 – A pitcher is ripping a 2-run double of Cy Young award winner, Tom Glavine in the Braves/Pirates game. Braves announcer Skip Carey: “Ball’s got to be juiced.”

2:53 – Nets have cut the deficit to six with seven minutes left. The crowd is restless. Woody Allen looks nervous. Alec Baldwin is chewing his fingers. Ahmad Rashad is in the Knicks locker room asking Ewing if he’s upset having been tossed out of a play-off game for being assaulted. There could be another assault. Girlfriend calls. I tell her about The Virus. “You haven’t heard? It was in Time magazine this week.”

3:15 – Bruins goalie Jon Casey is standing on his head. The Devils are going to lose. The Nets make it a Jersey Double and go down to the Knicks. Ahmad looks like he survived. The Bulls/Cavaliers game is starting up. There’s a knock on my door, something about a little car trouble, and he needs to use the phone. I remember “A Clockwork Orange” and ignore him.

3:18 – Todd Hundley hits his eighth home run of the year. McCarver: “What do you have to say about that, Ralph?” Kiner: Get Rawlings on the phone.”

4:20 – Yanks/Athletics are in the second inning out in Oakland. Melido Perez is giving up ropes to some guys named Scott Brosius and Mike Aldrete. I can read Buck Showalter’s lips: You can’t win them all, get me a Sanka.”

4:47 – Braves lost to the Pirates for the fifth time in six tries. I though they were supposed to be the ’27 Yankees. I’m nursing my last bag of stale Doritos, and I can’t find a single celebrity in Chicago Stadium. I can’t find any Cavaliers either. Bulls are up 12. Michael Jordan is yawning.

5:17 – The Yanks are down. Tony Kubek is wondering why no one has told Mike Stanley that the ball is juiced. He’s hitting .150. My cat is trying to get my attention by rolling on his back and looking cute. Must be hungry. Well, he isn’t the only one. “It’s play-off time, you ungrateful feline!” I yell at him. “Show some guts!”

5:46 – The Bulls finish off the Cavs and go up two games to none. The big highlight was when Bulls coach Phil Jackson was caught with a walkman singing “Truckin’” in the third quarter. Warriors/Suns game two is underway from Phoenix. Charles Barkley is screaming at a referee already and we’re only 30 seconds in. I point out to my cat that that is the type of resolution I expect from him. He darts outside in obvious disgust.

6:15 – The Mets win. The Yanks are fading. Steve Howe is on the mound and I sense trouble. I hear a basketball being dribbled in my driveway. I pull back the curtains to see my cat practicing slam dunks on my hoop. He looks at me and smiles. I think I’m losing it.

7:45 – It’s 15 minutes to the start of the Ranger second-round series with the Washington Capitals. No food, a cat that has mastered a death-defying reverse slam, and a machine full of messages from people who are convinced I’m dead. I’ll never make it through May.

10:36 – Rangers win! I have crossed beyond the thin line of reality for sure. I could swear I saw Mike Keenan smile.

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