By Chris Pennant (@kwandarykitten)
There’s a lot of noise in this time of 24-hour news and even the most insignificant sports tidbit gets at least five minutes of airtime before fading into memory.
Most of these news bits really aren’t deserving of such over-analysis and can be easily distilled into two categories: trash or not trash. It’s difficult for a regular person to find the time to distill, but have no fear, I’ve taken it upon myself to do it for you. Here’s the latest edition of “Trash or Not Trash.”
TRASH — Julian Edelman and the “underdog” New England Patriots
Usually, “trash” is a label reserved for the truly worst people and organizations in sports. However, Julian Edelman’s tweets leading up to yesterday’s AFC Championship were emblematic of everything people despise about the Patriots. Edelman posted a series of tweets with the slogan “Bet Against Us,” evidently the rallying cry for the New England faithful this postseason.
Granted, the Patriots seem to have cracks forming in their seemingly impervious facade. In the last 12 months, they have dealt with an upset loss in the Super Bowl, ongoing rumors of a rift between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, further injuries to Rob Gronkowski, and Brady’s increasing resistance to whatever anti-aging black magic he’s used to remain an elite quarterback.
That STILL does not give New England any quarter to call themselves underdogs, especially after a typical Brady drive gave the Pats their sixth AFC championship in the last eight years.
Any doubt about the Pats’ supposed “underdog” status was put to rest with a divisional round dismantling of the Los Angeles Chargers. Even their matchup with Kansas City wasn’t a case of a young juggernaut against a dynasty on its last legs, as Andy Reid has built a career on losing when favored.
The “why not us?” manufactured mantra would be groan-worthy if it came from a team that had won a couple of times in the last few years, such as the Golden State Warriors. When you’ve taken home five rings in the last 20 years, a span where no other team has won more than twice — and thank everything for the Giants — it’s insufferable to consider yourselves the underdog.
Why Boston fans find this necessary, when all four of their sports teams have multiple titles, I do not know. I would have bet against the Pats on principle alone, but I didn’t have enough money or courage. I just couldn’t trust Andy Reid…
NOT TRASH — Loyola Ramblers Men’s Basketball
DePaul men’s basketball has been fighting tooth and nail to bring their program back to a state of mediocrity on the way to respectability, and Saturday’s comeback win against Seton Hall has them on that path — and just in time to possibly save the jobs of the head coach and athletic director (check for more on that Wednesday here on WARR.com).
However, Loyola University is doing their best to follow up last season’s surprise run to the Final Four. The Ramblers have held at least a share of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference since January 21, 2018, exactly one year and a day ago, and their win over Indiana State Saturday kept them tied with Valparaiso at 5-1.
Jacobs High School (Algonquin) grad Cameron Krutwig leads the Valley in field goal percentage (65.8), field goals (108) and player efficiency rating (27.1). Loyola is lacking the star power from last season’s standouts Ben Richardson and Donte Ingram, but Krutwig, preseason player of the year Clayton Custer and Marques Townes have enough skill to land Loyola another conference championship and a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Ramblers are back in action tonight at Missouri State and return home to Gentile Arena Sunday afternoon in a game against Southern Illinois that will be broadcast on ESPNU.
TRASH — Donald Trump’s Fast Food Banquet for Clemson
Saying Donald Trump is trash is akin to saying Michael Jordan was a decent basketball player, but he further lampooned himself with last week’s dinner party for the national champion Clemson football team.
The U.S. government has been shut down since December 22 due to Trump’s continued demand for Congress to appropriate funding for the southern U.S. border wall, despite his famous campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the barrier. The shutdown, the longest in United States history and second of Trump’s administration, has 800,000 government employees either furloughed or working without pay.
The funding gap has very serious consequences for millions of citizens across the country, but it also meant the White House chef was not present for last Saturday’s banquet honoring the champion Tigers. With no sumptuous meal available, the president decided on the next best thing: fast food.
According to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump at least paid for the cholesterol-laden spread out of his own pocket. That news will most likely be proven false in the coming weeks, but even if it’s true, look at the picture above one more time.
If this president is truly a billionaire, as he so claims, is that really the best he could do? Even if you consider that to be, say, one-sixth the size of the table and the amount of food he got, figuring $6 per Quarter-Pounder, $5 per salad, about $6 for every Wendy’s Double with Cheese and between $14 and $18 for an extra large Domino’s pizza, I’d guess the tab to be $3,000 at the high end. Is there no way he couldn’t have put up an extra $2,000 and gotten Five Guys or something a bit less run of the mill?
Chris Pennant covers professional basketball for WARR Media