Barry Bonds’ Indictment Gets Worse…

Well, the Feds upped the ante in the Barry Bonds case. The indictment has been amended to include 14 counts of perjury and not just 4. To be sure, Bonds may be innocent in all 14 cases – - and innocent of the single charge of obstruction of justice too – - but his jeopardy did increase. So, now put yourself in the role of the guys hired by the MLBPA to investigate the possibility of collusion to keep Barry Bonds out of baseball and make the case that owners are not making him contract offers as a punitive measure and not because they wonder if he’ll actually be available to play baseball during his trial.

Someone said that this augmented indictment was a blessing to Roger Clemens because it took Clemens out of the headlines as baseball’s “bad boy”. Maybe temporarily that is the case, but the increased indictment for Bonds is simply more of the same kind of bad news that has surrounded Bonds for years now. In Clemens case, new bad stuff seems to keep coming out about him. At the moment, Clemens remains solidly in control of the “baseball’s bad boy” image…

I read a report that the Manchester United soccer team lost just over $113M for last fiscal year. This is a franchise that was valued at $1.8B and Malcom Glazer forked over a mountain of cash to take a controlling interest in the team. So how does that square with a loss of $113M for a single year?

Even though Manchester United generated revenue of almost $410M, it lost money because Glazer had to borrow a lot of money to make the purchase. And according to the financial revelation of the team, he borrowed that money at 14.25%. All I can say to that is, WOW! That’s like having several hundreds of millions of dollars in credit card debt. You would think that someone with the wherewithal even to open a discussion about borrowing that amount of money might have sufficient leverage in the financial world to get an interest rate near the prime rate. Obviously, that is not the case here…

Speaking of soccer, the coach of the LA Galaxy is not happy at all with his MLS team and its losing record so far this year. According to a report in the LA Times, the coach lashed out and said that his team lacked leadership on the field and that should be a bit strange. The Galaxy have Landon Donovan on the team; Donovan is the captain of the US national team meaning he has a leadership role. The Galaxy also have Carlos Ruiz on the team; Ruiz is the captain of the Guatemalan national team meaning he has a leadership role. And of course, the Galaxy have David Beckham on the team; Beckham is the former captain of the English national team meaning he had a leadership role there. Therefore, it is strange that the coach would call out his team for lack of leadership…

Jerry Greene reported in the Orlando Sentinel that ESPN had a Sports Poll where 1784 people described themselves as “avid fans” of the WNBA. ESPN then asked those 1784 self-identified “avid fans” how many games they attended in the last 12 months. According to ESPN, almost 91% of these “avid fans” attended zero games in the last year. But, it gets better. They asked these same “avid fans” if they had watched a WNBA game on TV in the last year and only 54.7 percent said they had. Imagine the responses if ESPN identified a couple thousand “tepid fans” for the WNBA…

A former colleague of mine used to be a baseball umpire at the collegiate level. He always used to say that the problem with college baseball at the lower echelons of the sport was that most teams didn’t have any pitchers who could reliably get anyone out so the games took forever to play. I suspect that he is glad that he did not have the game recently between Blackburn College and Illinois Wesleyan. In a nine-inning game, these two teams combined to use 19 pitchers; Blackburn used nine relievers in place of its starting pitcher and Illinois Wesleyan used eight relief pitchers. I could not find any mention of the time of the game but it had to be a long day’s work for the umpires.

At the other end of the pitching spectrum from that college game, Greg Maddux won his 350th major league game last week. His catcher that day was Luke Carlin and it was Carlin’s first major league game. So, kid, what do you do for an encore?

With the Preakness approaching and the certainty of PETA protests, let me say that the single most effective way for PETA to kill horseracing as a sport would be for them to work toward the repeal of the laws that allow slot machines at racetracks. The minor tracks cannot survive without the revenue from the slots and would have to cease operations. Without the minor tracks, there would not be enough of a breeding industry to sustain the sport. However, it is not easy to gain the votes of legislators by throwing fake blood on their wardrobes so continue to look for PETA to concentrate on getting “face time” in the news any time something tragic happens to a racehorse.

I read a report that said that Marvin Harrison told the Indy Colts that he had nothing to do with the shooting that happened in Philly – - the one that involved the gun he owns. Maybe he did; maybe he didn’t; there is more to learn here. However, there is no news at all in the report that he told the Colts he had nothing to do with the shooting. For him to say anything else would be tantamount to a confession and that cannot be a good legal strategy for him to pursue at this moment. So, maybe everyone needs to back off and let some more information about the incident come from the police investigators?

According to a story in the Arizona Republic, Glendale Arizona spent $3.4M to host last year’s Super Bowl game. In the same story, a study estimated that folks from other parts of the country came to Glendale and put $1.2M into the city coffers. This does not count the revenue generated by the NFL’s expenditures on its behalf so the deficit is not as large as it might seem at first. However, one of the local politicos says that you have to look at this in a broader sense than simply the “revenue generated” versus the “money put out”. One study showed that Glendale Arizona appeared in more than 5000 broadcast stories and industry experts valued that “exposure” and “advertising” at $27M. Therefore, the city showed a profit …

Sounds good, but try to spend some of that $27M of advertising benefit that you would never have spent on your own to fix those potholes or upgrade your libraries. Good luck with that, Glendale.

Finally, Bill Maher had this line about the ongoing Democratic presidential campaigns:

“70% of Americans in a new poll say they share Barack Obama’s values, in particular a complete disinterest in bowling.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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