10:00pm

Tue March 22, 2011
Sweetness And Light

The Sports Curmudgeon's Back, Just Like Tiki Barber

My old friend the Sports Curmudgeon has been on hiatus for a while, just stewing in his own bile as he watches the idiotic graphics on ESPN grow and swell and get stupider and get in the way of the picture, but he told me he figures if Tiki Barber thinks he can return to the NFL to play running back after four years, the Sports Curmudgeon can come back and be crabby again. Hello, Curmudgey.

"Hey, Frank, can you believe the gall of almost all these National Football League teams? They lock out the players and then turn around and make the fans fork up big money months in advance for tickets for a season they're trying to ruin. What do these greedy NFL owners think: The football fans got concussions, too?"

And it's not just guys at the top of the NFL that my grouchy old pal is furious with. Can you believe it? He's as mad at the president of the United States as Sarah Palin is.

"Hey, Frankie, baby. Did you hear who the president picked for March Madness? Not only the top four seeds in the men's Final Four, but the four No. 1s in the women's? Do we want a president who only picks the chalk? Hey, just 'cause he's Numero Uno himself, he picks all the hoop top dogs. Come on, leader of the free world, show me a little guts in your bracketology."

A point well made, Maestro Curmudgeon. Anything else eating at that sour sports disposition of yours?

"Uncle Mo. Can you believe it? I'll be a monkey's uncle if the huge favorite for the Kentucky Derby, for the whole Triple Crown, isn't a nag they named Uncle Mo. Man O'War, Whirlaway, Citation, Ruffian, Secretariat, Affirmed. Now, those are champion's names. And Uncle Mo. Whatever happened to class, Frankie? Jeesh. Uncle Mo.

"And speaking of class, there just happens to be a baseball team in Sendai, Japan. The Golden Eagles. Their stadium was severely damaged from the earthquake. Wouldn't you think some of them lug nuts who run American baseball would bring the Golden Eagles and their opponents over to the United States when the Japanese season starts — play some games over here and raise money to help the Japanese. Wouldn't you think they could just once stop that national pastime stuff and help the international pastime?"

Sometimes even a Sports Curmudgeon can find a sweet idea. Let's bring the Sendai Golden Eagles to play in the United States next month. Arigato, Curmudgey; arigato. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.