RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
OK, with baseball over and basketball still on hold, it's pretty quiet in the world of sports. And commentator Frank Deford laments the lack of excitement.
FRANK DEFORD, BYLINE: There's an awful lot of games played in November, even with the NBA locked out. But it's really just an in-between month in sports and life. There are no May-and-November romances, no good November songs. It's sort of a semi-final of a month.
Why are they still playing tennis in November? Let the boys and girls rest up for the summer so they're not all hurt when it matters.
Likewise, golf. Many purists say Tiger Woods shouldn't have been picked for the Presidents Cup team. Of course he should have, otherwise nobody would even be talking about the Presidents Cup, like I am now - even though I don't have the foggiest idea what it is. But it's played in November, somewhere. Go, Tiger.
Let me be the first to say that 2011 is surely the worst year in history for American athletes on the world stage. Has there ever been a year when foreigners were heavyweight champion, fastest man in the world, and number one in both men's and women's golf and tennis? Whatever happened to the lone Yank, taking on the world? There's no John Waynes left in American sport.
The NCAA has come up with a new grading schedule in which it promises to keep big-time teams out of its championships, if the so-called student athletes don't have a high enough grade-point average. Here's what my friend, The Sports Curmudgeon has to say about that:
Garbage in, garbage out. All those colleges are experts at getting academically unqualified athletes into school and keeping them eligible, and the NCAA can't catch anybody. You don't think now if their players have to have higher grades, they can't find a way to cheat at that, too?
Thank you, Sports Curmudgeon. And I'm going to look into what the Presidents Cup is and get back to you on that.
When players and owners have labor disputes, like in the NBA now, the ones I side with are the small-market teams. I care more about them than I do the big-market teams or the players and agents. Small market is the entity that needs the most help today in whatever sport. Once the small-market owners are happy with a deal, then I'm satisfied that it must be a fair enough settlement.
There's a stupid movie out now claiming that William Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare. Well, after listening time and again to how singers butcher both our National Anthem and our national hymn at ball games, if I were Francis Scott Key and Irving Berlin I would want a movie claiming that I didn't write "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."
MONTAGNE: Commentator Frank Deford joins us each week from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.