May 18, 2009

The Climate is a weekly look at what's good and what's not so good in the world of sports.

The NBA draft lottery

Even though the lottery is deeply flawed, it'll be nice to see the Knicks inevitably beat the odds and get a top two or three pick. Would it be too obvious and/or frowned upon if New York were to send Ricky Rubio or Blake Griffin as its representative Tuesday night?

Gambling in Delaware

Thanks to the Internet, it's not like you can't gamble on sports anywhere you please, but with new legislation, Delaware is now the fourth state to legalize sports wagering. It should be very similar to the casino scene in Las Vegas, just replace Vegas heavyweights Charles Barkley, Ben Affleck and Elton John with the Blue Hen State's own Judge Reinhold, Swedish league soccer player Colin Burns and the ever-gracefulJohnny Weir. What happens in Robinsonville stays in Robinsonville.

Roger Federer

With only a week left until the French Open, Federer cleanly did away with tennis big man on clay, Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 6-4 to take the Madrid Open. With his unexpected win on Spanish soil, Roger (first-name basis) has thrown down the clay gauntlet, causing the citizens of Nadal's own island home of Majorca to worry so much about Roland Garros that they're barely even touching their sobrassada and ensalmada. OK, enough Wikipedia for now.

The Yankees

It looks as if the Yankees may have finally turned the corner with five consecutive victories, including three in a row in walk-off fashion. It's not clear, though, if this is an encouraging sign for the Yankees or a clear indication that the Minnesota Twins' bullpen desperately wants to be hated more in Minneapolis than Vikings management.

Randy Johnson

Saturday's loss to the Mets means the Big Unit (always funny!) will not have a chance to win his 300th game when he pitches against his former team in Seattle on Friday. Despite the fact that Johnson's career is winding down and that his milestone victory will be accomplished for a young, rebuilding team, it's clear that the mustachioed Giant is still the most intimidating figure on a pitching mound anywhere. Well, almost anywhere (also always funny!).

John Lackey

Lackey, who was ejected after his first two pitches of the season on Saturday in Texas, will take the mound Monday in Seattle. The Angels' pitcher went after the Rangers' Ian Kinsler with a pitch behind his head and then the next into his ribs. All of this happened after the Rangers' second baseman had the audacity to hit two home runs the night before off of Joe Saunders. Doesn't young Kinsler realize employing the highly controversial strategy of "swinging at good pitches" is a one-way road to Nowheresville? So much to learn.

James Harrison

The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year announced that he wouldn't be joining his fellow Steelers at the White House on Thursday to celebrate their Super Bowl victory because, to him, it rings hollow that the president would've invited the Cardinals had they won. In response, the White House released a statement that said, "Yeah ... here's the thing ... that's pretty much exactly how it works."

Michael Phelps

Phelps, in his comeback from a suspension, was dealt a couple of losses at something called the Charlotte UltraSwim. To be honest, I really never imagined I'd care about competitive swimming that had nothing to do with the Olympics. Luckily, I still don't.

Yi Jianlian

Rumor has it that the No. 6 pick from the 2007 draft is being shopped around once again, this time by the New Jersey Nets. The word is that Yi has struggled adapting to the NBA and has glaring deficiencies when you study his scoring, rebounding, passing and defense. Other than that, though, he really is right there.

Touch Screens

It could very well just be me, but when did studio show producers determine that the next big thing on telecasts should be touch screen displays? Who exactly needs to see a substitution explained or what an isolation is? I would, however, be perfectly fine with touch screens being used to explain what the Lakers think about before either crushing a team or lying down in the playoffs. My guess is last Wednesday's Lost finale is affecting them much more than they're letting on. If the Nuggets were smart, they'd just put Ben (and his crazy eyes) courtside for the entire series and see what happens.

Dan Rubenstein hosts and produces the SI Tour Guy video series for and co-hosts The Solid Verbal college football podcast with's Ty Hildenbrandt. He can e-mailed here.

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