Hate for Heat has transformed to loathing for Lakers

Running off at the typewriter. …

If you've read this column for any length of time, you know that when LeBron James joined the Miami Heat, I became the founding father and CEO of an organization known as HATE (Heat Are The Enemy). The purpose of HATE was to band together, synthesize our dislikes, objections and jealousies toward the Heat and hope that all of our negative energy could somehow disintegrate the Evil Empire put together by Darth Vaseline (Pat Riley).

Since the Heat have won the championship and LeBron has gradually become more likable, I have decided to disband that organization and start another called LOATHE (Lakers Officially Are The Hated Enemy). Let's face it, since Dwight Howard has joined the Lakers, there's no organization in the NBA that fans — especially Magic fans — despise more.

(Note: All of you bleeding-heart wimps out there, please refrain from sending e-mails saying I shouldn't be inciting hate in a public forum. I've said it once and I'll say it again: This is not real hate; it's sports hate. And sports hate is OK. It's OK for Florida and Florida State fans to hate when the other team wins. And it's certainly OK for Magic fans to hope the Lakers, with the addition of the Howard, become a dysfunctional, disastrous Dwightmare of an organization.)

Our mission at LOATHE is the same as it was at HATE: To unify and galvanize as a singular incredible negative force of energy. Our organizational mantra comes from the Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro, who once wrote: "Individually, we are but one drop. Together, we are an ocean."

An angry, furious, raging ocean that will hopefully suck the Lakers into our loathing chasm of doom.

Short stuff: Every time I hear talking heads referring to the fiscal cliff, three words pop into my head: "Big East's future." . . . Speaking of the Big East, let's listen in on their TV negotiations, shall we? CBS: "We'll give you $24, a case of whiskey and some beaver pelts." Big East: "DEAL!!!" . . . Did I read this right: Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has blamed the low profits at Olive Garden and Red Lobster on Obamacare? Hey, maybe the ACC Championship Game should use that excuse, too? . . . Bob Costas has been getting hammered for using his Sunday Night Football halftime commentary to promote gun control. If Bob really wants to rid sports of deadly weapons, he should advocate a ban on Dwight Howard's freethrows. . . .

Jay Leno: "President Clinton and President Obama played a round of golf over the weekend. President Clinton asked Obama what his handicap was, and Obama said, 'Joe Biden.' " . . . Big East TV negotiations: ESPN: "We'll give you a can of sardines, a bag of pork rinds and a six pack of Pabst." Big East: "DEAL!!!" . . . Anybody buying what the ACC was selling earlier this week when the 14 league presidents signed a document reaffirming their commitment to the league? Of course, six of those presidents are from schools who bolted other leagues to join the ACC. I just hope they had the good sense to sign this bogus document with disappearing ink. . . . Northern Illinois is responsible for selling 17,500 Orange Bowl tickets when the team's average attendance is only 15,670. Hey, maybe they can get a federal bailout! Or they could always hold a raffle: First prize — two Orange Bowl tickets. Second prize — four Orange Bowl tickets! . . .

Big East TV negotiations: Fox: "We'll give you a bag of airline peanuts, a velvet Elvis and a bug zapper." Big East: "DEAL!!!" . . . It was good to see the University of Tennessee finally hire a coach after getting turned down by Jon Gruden, Charlie Strong, three mall Santas and a partridge in a pear tree! ... Last word: "The International Olympic Committee has stripped India of its right to participate in the games. In response, India said, 'Fine, just try logging on to your computers now.' " – Conan O'Brien

Open Mike:

Don't forget, you can click on OrlandoSentinel.com and read the wildly popular Open Mike blog and interactive extravaganza to get my freshest takes on what's happening in the world of sports. Here's a blog item on an testy exchange in L.A. between Dwight Howard and WKMG Sports Director David "Ping" Pingalore.

WKMG sports director David "Ping" Pingalore was in Los Angeles for the Magic's gratifying 113-103 victory over Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers last Sunday night, and Dwight obviously was not pleased to see Ping.

After Ping peppered him with a few fairly harmless questions during Dwight's post-game media availability, Lakers' PR director John Black told Ping to stop trying to "antagonize" Dwight. The post-game news conference quickly ended.

I have been critical of some of Ping's reporting techniques in the past, but I didn't think Ping was trying to antagonize Dwight during this particular interview session. At least not initially. I thought Ping was, for the most part, asking legitimate questions about Dwight playing his former team. At the end of the interview session, when Dwight continually refused to answer Ping's questions, it's clear Ping then tries get a rise out Dwight.

It's no secret that Dwight despises like Ping based on last season when Ping blew the lid off the story that Dwight went to Magic management to try and get Stan Van Gundy fired. A day later, Van Gundy confirmed Ping's report.

Ping also drew Dwight's ire by reporting that Dwight's back injury at the end of last season had less to do with his availability for the playoffs than his dislike for Van Gundy. The report sparked speculation that, even if healthy, Howard would sit out in the playoffs in protest of Van Gundy. The story also set off a national debate between ESPN's Skip Bayless and Jemele Hill about whether Howard was quitting on his team.

Clearly, the questions weren't what got under Dwight's skin after the Magic beat the Lakers; it was the person asking the questions.

Mail bonding:

Most interesting reader retorts, radio rabble, tangy tweets and message-board mockery of the week:

On a column about how bickering FSU fans better start showing Jimbo Fisher some love: "FSU fans are about three minutes away from being the type of fans they've always accused the Gators of being: impatient, overly demanding, unrealistic and fickle."

On Twitter question about whether Santa Claus actually exists: "Yes, he was just re-elected President of the United States."

On Bob Costas' halftime commentary advocating more gun control: "I'm not afraid of people with guns; I'm afraid of crazy people with guns."

Notable quotables:

In honor of the college football bowl bids being extended earlier this week, three of my favorite quotes about the bowl games.

"I'm glad we're not going to the Gator Bowl." — Former Arkansas coach Lou Holtz, on being pelted with oranges after his Razorbacks won an invitation to the Orange Bowl

"When you're the ugly stepsister, you just go to the prom with whoever asks you." – Former University of Miami coach Larry Coker on not playing in a BCS bowl game.

"The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I've ever seen that I didn't have to clean." — humorist Erma Bombeck

mbianchi@tribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.

 

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