|Here's to Ew|
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2
At The Cooler, we never doubt New York City.
Best drinking town in the country. Best cab town in the country. And most epic sports fans in the country.
A reminder came over the weekend, dwellers, when Patrick Ewing's jersey was retired at Madison Square Garden. Does anybody do it better than these guys?
Willis Reed -- in the house.
Walt (Clyde) Frazier -- in the house.
Marvelous Marv Albert -- in the house.
And really, how about Marv Albert? I've missed this guy. He flashed that Marv wit we all loved so much from the Letterman NBC days. When Ewing was presented with about 40 assorted sports jerseys with the No. 33 on them, Albert deadpanned, for all of the Garden and a national TV audience to hear:
"A wonderful addition, to the Ew-ing household."
Too bad all anybody remembers about this guy is that he dug wearing lingerie. The cat is funny and smooth. So what if he dons a silk teddy on the road? Whatever floats your boat, pal. Come to think of it, they should have slid a silk teddy in the rack of jerseys, with the No. 33 and the name "ALBERT" across the back. Woulda been rich.
Anyway, back to the inimitable stylings of New York City and sports fans I need to drink with.
They booed Alonzo Mourning -- and Michael Jordan! Booing Jordan? Isn't that like booing Jesse Owens? Or Babe Ruth? Who boos Jordan? Then, it came to me: New Yorkers boo Jordan. They understand his greatness, and will love him when he retires. But this was Patrick's night, man. And if Jordan or 'Zo wanted to come into the Garden on Patrick's night, they were going to be informed by a beer-soaked, No. 33 jersey-wearing crowd that this is Patrick's house. I love it.
And, of course, pockets of the Yankee Stadium roll call broke out, when the fans took it upon themselves to chant, "Pat-rick Ew-ing, clap,clap/clap,clap,clap" as the ceremony dragged on. We need more of this in life: The appreciative Yankee Stadium roll call clap. Do it for waitresses who do a dynamite job. For the beer man at a spring training game. For your tax accountant, who works over your deductions like Van Gogh worked a canvas.
Finally, it was time for the jersey to the rafters, and it soared like it should -- with majesty. Only drag: They didn't play Europe's "The Final Countdown" for the jersey lift. Horrendous tune. Bad '80s synth. But so Garden. So Knicks. So big hair Bridge and Tunnel.
It was all enough to give any self-respecting dweller a warm Gotham glow, and to raise the Dixie cup of Sparkletts. A perfect segue, then to the lead item of our Weekend List of Five:
1. A toast ... to all my friends!
So listen to the man when he issues the precise clarification: "I went out the night before and now it says I'm drunk that day. I wasn't. I took some aspirin and had a headache, but what I read said I was drunk."
Come on, ghostwriter! Respect the drinker! You've got to know the difference between a skull-rattling hangover and still being 'faced. Wells said he was just hung. Semantics are key.
This is priceless stuff, by the way.
2. Tiger ... again
Phirst, Phil did it. Questioned his equipment. Insert your own joke here. Tiger crushed him at Torrey Pines like he was stamping out a cigarette on a wet sidewalk.
Hey, sometimes the athletes are right: We do build these guys up, just to tear them down.
Meanwhile, Tiger sits at home in Orlando, rehabbing the knee, smoldering smoke trickling out of his ears, like a fuse blew in his head.
So Tiger rolls out with the two W's in his first three starts, punctuated by the grueling, fickle, gnarly and impressive Match Play win this weekend. The match with Adam Scott on Saturday was a classic, and not just because the young Aussie stud was getting wolf-whistles from the female gallery members at La Costa. (Memo to 22-year-old Adam Scott: Do not, under any circumstances, do the "girlfriend" thing, anytime soon. You have a massive opportunity in front of you, kid. We hope you understand the magnitude of your impending good fortune. End of memo.)
Anyway, so that's that. Ernie who? I'm piling on the Tiger bandwagon again. Guy's got his own brand of clothing, got more shots in his bag than Minnesota Fats (and we don't mean Lumpy Herron) and a Swedish girlfriend.
Somebody buy this man a lottery ticket.
3. Roy Jones, Jr: The greatest school bully ever
The high school bully remains the king of the jungle -- the guy under his car hood in the back parking lot who commanded total respect.
Roy Jones, Jr. -- getting it done on every level. Huge respect for the man.
4. Why e-mail rules
Got an e-mail missive from my boy Roberts last night. Seems he read last week's Cooler, which mentioned Seattle's Pleistocene Epoch designated hitter, Edgar Martinez. Turns out Roberts was in Seattle recently, at a joint owned by the Great Edgar. He caught sight of Martinez that evening, and reported:
"Had to chuckle when I saw the Martinez mention. When I saw him, he was one bar fight and a week's worth of Stuffed-Crust Domino's from doing a full 'Raging Bull' Jake LaMotta."
That's all. Just wanted to share.
5. If you ain't cheatin' ...
College hoops coaches still flat-out buy things for players.
He got caught buying killer lobster dinners at UCLA; he got caught doing something or other at Rhode Island; and now this, down in Georgia.
God bless this guy: He hung a banner in Pauley Pavilion (please, face West and genuflect) and floats plasma screens to guys who can shoot the 3. This is reassuring.
Just like a night of live sports from N.Y.C.
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.