Alabamians throwing beer cans at Gordon akin to marrying your kin

Mayday! Mayday!”

No “Rants & Raves” isn’t celebrating today’s archaic spring playground festival. Rather, we’re repeating what NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was screaming into his headset Sunday after beer cans — Budweiser brand, we presume — began raining down upon him at Talladega Superspeedway after he claimed his 77th Cup victory, passing the revered Dale Earnhardt for sixth place in career wins.

Of course, it’s MUCH too easy to drop the hammer on a bunch of brain-dead Bubbas from ‘Bama. That would be like marrying your first cousin down there. But whether or not you like Gordon, to throw beer cans — empty ones we’d hope, but certainly not presume — for him simply doing what he’s paid to do is, well, four teeth short of a mouthful. …

• Even Dale Jr., taking a wary cue from the same recklessness that occurred in Phoenix a week earlier, when Gordon “honored” Dale Sr. by waving a black No. 3 car flag outside the driver’s window on his victory lap after tying the mark at 76, urged those who might again be prompted to chuck cans should Gordon win Sunday to use something much more safe: say, rolls of toilet paper.

The only problem: Toilet paper isn’t sold in Alabama. …

• Sure, we kid. So back off those angry e-mails and letters — provided Alabamans can write (note: The same holds true for those like-idiot-minded Arizonans a week earlier).

But our criticism is real, not because of any danger to Gordon — heck, if Las Vegan Kyle Busch could survive that crash-turned-flaming barrel roll in Saturday’s Busch Series race then a shower of half-swilled beer cans weren’t going to hurt Gordon, who was protected inside his car. Rather, the danger was to fans, including kids, sitting in front of the knuckleheads throwing the cans.

We were happy to hear Fox’s broadcast team mention that those responsible were being handcuffed by local police and carted off — hopefully to roadside work crews, where, hey, they can pick up beer cans. …

• We all have to agree that the highlight to this past weekend’s NFL Draft was not who was taken, but who was traded: Randy Moss, the league’s leading crybaby, who was sent by the Oakland Raiders to the New England Patriots for — snicker! snicker! — the Pats’ fourth-round pick next season. That’s likely around selection No. 110, by the way, or the equivalent of a blocking sled, two chin straps and a kicking tee. …

• Boxing might not be dead, but let’s just say that after this weekend’s super welterweight title showdown between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. promoters might want to keep defibrillators handy. Promoters should become as adept at chest compressions as they are at lifting the wallets of many of their fighters.

Naturally, Saturday night’s bout at the MGM Grand Garden will be hyped to no end — and rightfully so, considering the sad state of the rest of the sport. But one guy who isn’t buying into the hype is a fellow who has sold so much of it over the years that his picture should accompany the word in the dictionary: Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

“I have no intention of going to it, or watching it. It’ll be a boring fight,” Arum told the Los Angeles Times for this past Sunday’s edition. “It’ll be a technical fight. Floyd is a lot smarter, he’ll out-speed Oscar. I don’t think it’ll be exciting.”

Guaranteed: If Arum had not had a major falling out with his one-time favorite son, De La Hoya, and was holding the reins to the promotion of this fight, he’d be selling it as the biggest showdown since FDR took on that “Sieg heil!” wack-job back in the 1940s. Or at least since Al Sharpton took on Don Imus three weeks ago. …

• Note to the NBA’s defending champions, the Miami Heat: Thanks for showing up, guys. …

• Anyone who attends the 1-8 Badiators’ — sorry, 1-8 Gladiators’ — game Sunday against the Los Angeles Avengers at the Orleans Arena obviously doesn’t have a life or suffers from some rare medical condition resulting from exposure to sunlight.

Fortunately for the Badiators, we hear the Avengers are thinking about not showing up out of lack of their own interest. …

• Great regular season by the Double-A hockey Wranglers, capped by an 18-game win streak that spilled over into the postseason.

Bad way to hit the brakes, though, in the best-of-7 conference semifinals, being ousted by Idaho, 4 games to 2.

Of course, going just 2-for-15 on the power play in those four losses killed any chance of advancing.

Joe Hawk is the Review-Journal’s sports editor. His “Rants & Raves” column is published Tuesdays. He can be reached at 387-2912 or jhawk@reviewjournal.com.

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