By Tim Peterson
I love watching this UCLA team. With freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf mixed with seniors Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton it’s the most entertaining Bruin team in years. Throw in an Aaron Holiday and a Thomas Welsh and they may have the recipe for a national champion.
But like almost everything else in life every silver lining has a dark cloud. In UCLA’s case that dark cloud comes in the form of Bill Walton. The guy just never shuts up. Never. Shuts. Up. I turn on the PAC 12 Network to watch UCLA and Walton is there. Other times the Bruins are on ESPN, like Thursday night against USC, and again Walton is there. The guy just lingers and hangs around like a bad cough. And his ramblings never add value.
He talks about Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead and Mick Fleetwood. He drones on about his partner Dave Pasch loving coal and how he and USC AD Lynn Swann will forever be linked. At one point he mentions Gonzaga but can’t remember their nickname and says “whatever they’re called.” Dude we don’t care! How about the game?
When he does finally get around to the game he’s always a step behind. “Look at Lonzo Ball!” Walton yells while Chimezie Metu is laying the ball in the basket for USC.
He mentions his dog, I think it’s a dog, Cortez, and how he died in his arms. Again, hey Bill! What’s the score? You have any insight? His schtick is as old as he is and completely lost on everybody except maybe …well…the dead heads. He’s not funny and you wonder why ESPN still employs him. It can’t be for ratings as you can almost feel the people reaching for the remote at the sound of Walton’s voice.
Look,Walton was a great player. Some might argue that he was one of the greatest college players of all time. And they aren’t far off. But as an announcer he ruins the game. Why? Because he babbles on about everything but the game. Bill, we don’t care about song lyrics and sunsets in the desert. We care about the game. If you aren’t going to talk about the game then don’t talk. Put a muzzle on it.
Great article in Thursday’s LA Times entitled “The Pride and the Pain” by Bill Plaschke. It’s a must read for all parents that have kids playing sports. You can still find it online.
The crowd and the atmosphere Wednesday night at the Maranatha game lends further credence to the fact that the State playoffs are almost insignificant compared to the CIF Finals. The Minutemen lost but did anybody really care? Sure, there were people there but let’s just say there were plenty of good seats available. That being said Pasadena won Wednesday night as did Burbank and Blair, who play each other, in the second round of the State Tournament.
UCLA football fans won’t like this but isn’t it funny what a difference a year makes? Last spring it was UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen that was all the rage with talk about him being a Heisman Trophy candidate. This year USC’s Sam Darnold, who was carrying a clipboard on the sidelines watching Max Browne at the start of last season, is now being heralded as the best quarterback in the nation while Rosen, who was injured last year, is an afterthought. The Trojans opened spring practice this week.
You ever purchase a lemon that you wanted to unload as soon as you drove it off the lot but then suddenly somebody works a deal for you and takes it off of your hands? The payments are gone and you’re now free to start over and make a brand new purchase. That was the Houston Texans Thursday. They were able to rid themselves of the $16 million they would owe Brock Osweiler for 2017 and can now make a run at a cheaper and better model. Tony Romo? Is it surprising that the team that would make that deal is the Cleveland Browns? Of course the Browns picked up a couple of draft picks as well but they’re also saddled with an albatross around their neck.
They may trade Osweiler but it’s difficult to imagine somebody else wanting him a this point. On the surface it looks like another monumental Browns blunder.
I wonder what Bill Walton thinks about the Browns trade? Why did they make this deal Bill? Does it have anything to do with Dave Pasch liking coal?
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40.