These days, it's not easy being Wayne. The Phoenix Coyotes' most celebrated creditor, Wayne Gretzky, was having an innocuous chat on Friday's Prime Time Sports when host Bob McCown asked about The Globe and Mail's story that the city of Glendale wants to examine the $8-million coach about the operations of his bankrupt team.
"Bob, I thought I'd be ready for any question you could ask of me," replied a stunned Gretzky. "But…that's the first I've heard of it." (With the July 4 holiday and Jon and Kate and such, he hadn't seen the story.)
Later, Gretzky called McCown back at his home and - according to McCown's website fadoo.com - said that "he had checked with his attorney, who got in touch with the City of Glendale, and was told that there was no truth to the report."
Because cities are always making those frivolous court filings - you know, just to keep in practice. No need to worry, Wayne.
No Love The Roger Federer/Andy Roddick marathon was an instant classic, but the inert Williams v. Williams women's final at the All England Club Saturday was more typical of the 2009 WimbleDoneLikeDinner. Where to start? There was the "not pretty enough for Centre Court" effort by the tournament to please the BBC by scheduling bodacious baseliners such as unseeded Maria Sharapova, Maria Kirilenko and No.28 seed Sorana Cirstea on the main court while exiling top-seeded players Serena Williams and Dinara Safina to Outer Courtsylvania.
Wimbledon spokesman Johnny Perkins confirmed the moves in the Daily Mail saying, "Good looks are a factor. ... It's not a coincidence that those [on Centre Court]are attractive." Those sentiments were echoed by an anonymous BBC employee in the Daily Mail piece. "It's advantageous to [the BBC]if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court. ... Our preference would always be a Brit or a babe as this always delivers high viewing figures." Said Safina to the Daily Mail: "I mean, of course it's not fair, but then I'm not doing the schedule."
Then there was NBC's time-delay schmozzle on Friday. Even though ESPN had been carrying the Andy Roddick/Murray semifinal live, NBC instead dumped that compelling match to show a taped version of the earlier Roger Federer/Tommy Haas semifinal yawner when it took over coverage from the cable carrier. So viewers in the U.S. and Canada were left hanging as the classic Roddick/Murray match continued in the nebula.
Add in the greasy turf, Rafael Nadal's withdrawal without firing a shot and ScreamGate, the ongoing controversy about the shrieking sirens of the women's draw. Outside Federer's epic record win yesterdayon Sunday, the famous fortnight was a double fault for viewers and fans.
Too Many Tear Drops
Mary Carillo of NBC on the Serena/Venus rivalry: "They love each other dearly, they're each other's best friend. They both claim the only reason they're so good is because of the other, they get inspired by each other … But there they are at Centre Court at Wimbledon, trying to make each other cry." Is she crying? Is she? There's no crying in tennis. As noted baseliner Bob Dylan once said, "She serves just like a woman, but she returns like a little girl."
Wild Audio Usual Suspects can do without TSN's sideline audio most days. Yeah, we know you're No.1, pal. But Ryan Phillips of the B.C. Lions gave analyst Glen Suitor a little audio gold as he lobbied for player of the game after a pick-six interception against B.C. "Hey, Suitor, you know what I need," smiled Phillips. "You're my boy, you know what I need. C'mon, give me what I need." For the record, Omarr Morgan got the expensive watch from Suitor, not Phillips. Give him some love, Suits.
Ram Jam Finally, because bad news is good news, drug cheat Manny Ramirez is big news for the networks. But was Ramirez' comeback from suspension on Friday night bigger news in Canada than the Raptors' signing coveted free agent Hedu Turkoglu or Edmonton's Jesse Lumsden wrecking his shoulder again in the first game of the season? That's how TSN's SportsCentre played it after the Lions/Riders game. How about less Manny, less of the time?