They had on their paper-hats and the streamers were ready to pop. The jets were warming up on the tarmacs waiting to fly masses of media onto Dwight Howard's new digs.
Then Superman crashed the party. Came in through the wall, as usual.
Even with all the guff LeBron James takes from scribes, deep down inside, the media really loves the dude. Why? He gives 'em the one thing that matters most: the big story.
In deciding Thursday to stay-put in Orlando for his final contract year, Dwight Howard put the ka-put on a month's worth of storylines for press people around the nation.
Now they're ticked and taking it out on the Magic's main man. He's being called indecisive, "waffling" in the process. Jimmy Olsen & Lois Lane (of Daily Planet fame) think he's taken food off their tables, leaving them to scramble for story-scraps.
It's not exactly my cup o' tea but the endless analysis that would've followed a DH move onto greener pastures would've done nicely to fill the topic-void typical in early spring.
Baseball's warming-up, NASCAR's gearing-up, football's lining-up (rosters), hockey's healing-up for PS, Woods is fed-up with minor PGA while waiting for major (Masters) and college b-ball's about to make me toss-up with saturation of the airwaves, ad nausea.
And when the other NBA shoe (story) dropped, the Lakers' ample sneaker barely made a squeak. Derek Fisher is a HOF prospect but in this life, unless you're Randy Moss (Vikes '10) or a TV producer, you've gotta' give something to get something back (Sessions).
LeBron's 'Decision' may've been over-orchestrated but it did provide lots of fodder for lots of by-lines. Was it the right move for James, for Miami? Only time will tell. Point is, people still talk about it more than if he'd kept residence in the Buckeye State.
I think Howard made a good play. The rumor mill leading up to Thursday's pronouncement is just so much minutiae. He gets decent moolah ($19+ million), kept his options open and maybe most important, it gives the Orlando ownership more time to build a championship cast around their superhero b-baller. Buys everyone time.
As for cancelled flights to demurred destinations (Nets): That's life in the big city. They can only trust in Yogism: "It ain't over till it's over." Until the next contract is contemplated, written & signed, everyone's in the running.
He ain't no Leonard Bernstein (Peyton Manning?) but Mr. Howard's conducted his ensemble pretty well from where I sit in the audience. Given the high stakes involved, far be it for me to judge too harshly the manner in which the LeBrons, Dwight Howards or Jim Irsays of this world make their life decisions.
"(T)ug on Superman's cape (Croce)?" Not this writer.