The NBA's East-West gulf is even worse.
The Eastern Conference has two outstanding teams, Miami and Indiana; everyone else is essentially an AAU travel team. The West has two lousy teams, Sacramento and Utah; everyone else would make the East playoffs even if coached by Whoopi Goldberg.
Franchises like the Wizards and Bobcats are built, designed and engineered to miss the playoffs. But in the East, you can roll out of bed 5-15 on a mid-December morning and know the postseason is just beyond the reach of your nightstand. Or, as the Bucks' Caron Butler told the Washington Post the other day, "It's the Eastern Conference. You win four in a row, you're the seventh seed or something."
The Knicks just ended a nine-game losing streak last week, and they're three games out of a playoff spot. The Bucks recently ended an 11-game losing streak, and they're just five games away from a No. 8 seed.
Anyway, I've figured out a way out of this. Rather than dividing the leagues geographically east and west, let's divide them north and south. Yeah, north and south. What's the worst-case scenario here, a civil war? Oh, right.
Ask The Slouch
Q. The Mariners are paying Robinson Cano $240 million over 10 years. Wouldn't that money be better spent on new bats, gloves and rosin bags? (Wilson Miles, Spokane, Wash.)
A. I shudder to think how much they would've given Cano if he ran hard to first base.
Q. In this day and age, which has more meaning at the start - the white wedding dress or the NFL kickoff? (Bill Coe, Washington, D.C.)
A. Actually, all of my brides wore black.
Q. Does the NSA even bother to read your column, let alone your e-mail? (Mark Cohen, Gibsonia, Pa.)
A. You, my friend, are now ensconced in the NSA data bank.
Q. Have you ever noticed that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett doesn't appear to be aware that the NFL keeps score? (Scott D. Shuster, Watertown, Mass.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Does Rosetta Stone have a program that could possibly help us interpret Mike Mayock? (Gary Crucetti, Hoosick Falls, N.Y.)
A. Shirley, this man goes to the front of the pay line.
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