Brownie Points: A quick game of 'Told you so' - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Brownie Points: A quick game of 'Told you so'

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Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at jbrown5548@aol.com

Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2011 11:00 pm | Updated: 11:05 pm, Sun May 15, 2011.

This is going to feel like a "We told you so" version of Brownie Points, so eye-rolling is not only expected but encouraged. But when you spend as much time as we do throwing stuff up against the wall, it makes sense to call attention when some of it sticks:

A bowl of malarkey

We told you that the Fiesta Bowl was going to get away with a slap on the wrist and the Bowl Championship Series wouldn't dare toss them out of the rotation for fear of what they might find in the closets of the other bowls.

Kicked out of the championship series? Um, no.

Forced to skip one rotation? Nope.

A hefty fine that will hit the event where it lives? Hardly.

A million bucks? The John Junker Fun Crew used to drop half that on a Big 12 Championship weekend - especially if it happened to coincide with amateur night at The Navel Base or Starbutts. Heck, Grant Woods would have fined the Fiesta Bowl $5 million - but of course, part of that would have gone to his fee.

God bless the BCS - they know who they're dealing with.

Outside of the kickbacks and reimbursed campaign contributions - that was breaking new ground in college football, kinda like June Jones' offense at Hawaii - the rest of the palm-greasing, glad-handing and back-slapping has been going on since the days of the Astro-Bluebonnet and Poulan Weedeater Bowls. You've gotta set the bar low on this fine and suspension stuff.

What if you kick out the Fiesta Bowl only to have some enterprising reporter in Miami uncover sanctioned animal sacrifices or something going on at the Orange Bowl?

In what little time it has until college football wises up and seizes control of its own product, the BCS will be good to who has been good to it - and ride out the criticism.

Groundhog Day

We told you the Coyotes weren't going anywhere as long as Gary Bettman is holding the NHL's gavel and the team hasn't had a fair shake in Arizona with legitimate ownership. We told you the Atlanta Thrashers will wind up in Winnipeg - but probably not this year, since the Coyotes took their sweet time doing nothing - with the Detroit Red Wings poised to jump to the Eastern Conference and cut their travel time and trips to Arizona in half.

Now the fact that the Coyotes could enter next year without an owner, still run by the league and with the city of Glendale fronting another $25 million? We didn't see that one coming, and anyone who said they did is lying. Insiders believe Matthew Hulsizer's bid to buy the team is losing big-time steam.

NHL deputy chief Bill Daly was either confirming that or delivering a "Hurry up Matty!" with his statements at Tuesday's Council meeting, attended by a motley mixed group not seen since the bar scene in "Star Wars."

Hulsizer's relationship with the city has gone steadily downhill since Christmas. Mayor Scruggs and her necessary votes still only have eyes for Jerry Reinsdorf - who is tired of looking at undeveloped dirt from his spring training suite at Camelback Ranch and might have to buy himself and his family a hockey team for a few years if he wants that to change.

Meanwhile, Coyotes GM Don Maloney - who watched Zbynek Michalek and Matthew Lombardi skate away last year when he couldn't guarantee the team would stay in Arizona - now has 18 free agents to sign and, as of now, no better news.

Ilya Bryzgalov wants a long-term deal and a handsome raise, but his playoff meltdown might chill the market enough for Maloney to talk him into staying one more year at $6 million until the future finally crystallizes.

Quick hitters

• By my count, that's two championship-level celebrations already by the Miami Heat. There was one in July when "The Big Three" were united, and one this week when they proved to everyone that the Celtics made a horrendous mistakes in dealing Kendrick Perkins away and letting Tony Allen leave for Memphis.

LeBron and his boys are still the odds-on favorite to win - they have been all along - but there are still two long rounds to go and Dwyane Wade is the only one of the three that has tasted a title.

• I remember once going into a Scottsdale sports memorabilia store and looking at autographed baseballs by Hall of Fame Players. Willie Mays. Hank Aaron. Johnny Bench. Joe DiMaggio, Steve Carlton. But when I got to a ball signed by Harmon Killebrew, I noticed it was priced significantly lower. I wondered why.

"That's his fault," the store owner said. "The guy signs for everybody."

If you had the honor of meeting Killebrew during his many years living in the Valley, you know that's true. There is not a nicer man in sports - a more approachable, affable, genuine superstar.

While there is still time - thank you, Killer. Thank you for everything.

Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at jbrown5548@aol.com.

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