Reviewing Two Weeks Of “Stuff”

Cue Gene Autry:

I’m back in the saddle again…

Today’s commentary will deal with events that have gone down while I have been away. I am sure that I have missed some of the inanities of the sports world in the past two weeks, but the stuff here refuses to be ignored.

Regarding all of the hand wringing and moralizing about Alex Rodriguez and his changing story about his steroid usage, the commentaries that I find most annoying are the ones that talk about A-Rod’s “credibility” with regard to these stories and the ones that boldly assert that he is not yet telling the whole truth here. Ho- hum!

Alex Rodriguez has – by his admission – been involved with steroids for about eight years now. He has not been on them continuously by his account but it has been eight years. For all of that time, he has denied any such usage.

Translation: He has lied about that for eight years.

Now with a failed test confronting him, he has decided to “tell the truth”; absent the revelation of that failed test, he would still be asserting that he never took steroids.

Translation: He would still be lying.

A big part of the problem is that he “told the truth” by reading it from a piece of paper and evading just about all the follow-up questions. Therefore, I wish everyone would cease and desist from any philosophical peregrination with regard to his truth-telling now. He has been lying about this for eight years; he would still be lying about it now if he could; he is saying the minimum that he thinks he can get away with about the subject now that he cannot deny it. More importantly, he will continue to do so – - unless he is under oath sometime in the future in which case he may possibly opt not to follow in the footsteps of folks like Marion Jones, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada. End of message with regard to veracity in this matter…

One aspect of this story is yet to be told – having nothing to do with A-Rod. How did Selena Roberts come into possession of the data regarding his failed test for steroids? If – I said IF – these came from documents that a court had put under seal at some time, then there could well be an investigation as to the source of that leak. In that case, we might see Selena Roberts subpoenaed to reveal that source. If that were to happen, let me say now that I would have zero sympathy for Roberts should she refuse to testify fully. If that is the way she got the documents, the person who gave them to her committed a criminal act and she aided and abetted that criminal act. That would not be a “freedom of the press” issue; that would be a “protecting a criminal” issue. Remember, this comment is based on a supposition not yet proven to be the case. Stay tuned…

I did not find the antecedent comments that must have provoked this comment from Larry Bowa regarding former Dodger pitcher Brad Penny, but the following is vintage Larry Bowa:

“Is this the same [Brad] Penny that never went to meetings, that came late, left early, was never in shape, always had an excuse when things didn’t go right, didn’t help the young kids at all?”

I do not recall the name of the player, but when Bowa managed the Phillies, he and one of the guys on the bench clearly did not get along. After the season, the player ripped Bowa up and down. Bowa said in response that he would be happy to talk to any manager or GM on any team in baseball to tell them all about this player such that the player would never be in the major leagues ever again. Whatever happened to the adage?

    What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.

Darryl Strawberry has written a “tell-all book”. I hope someone has notified the Nobel Committee. In addition, Mike Tyson claims that he too is in the process of writing a “tell-all book”. Let me be clear about this; I shall not be providing any reviews or summaries of these literary oeuvres in this space. If you find the private lives/escapades of either of these gentlemen even marginally interesting, you will have to read these books for yourselves.

ESPN did not renew Emmitt Smith’s contract. Praise be to the Lord for that. I guess that ESPN now stands for:

    Emmitt Smith Pontificates Nevermore.

Elgin Baylor is suing the Clippers – and owner Donald Sterling – claiming that he was a victim of discrimination, that he was fired because of his age and his race and that during his tenure with the Clippers he was grossly underpaid as the GM when compared to other NBA executives. A few points here:

    1. Elgin Baylor was GM of the Clippers for 22 years.

    2. In that tenure, the Clippers won the NBA championship zero times and made the playoffs a total of three times.

    3. Whether or not he was hamstrung by the actions of the owner, that record does not justify him holding onto his job for 22 years.

    4. If he knew for 22 years that he was “grossly underpaid”, why didn’t he demand a raise? Might it have been those long periods of time when the Clippers where bottom-feeders in the NBA with the teams he assembled?

The WTA had a tournament scheduled in the United Arab Emirates. Officials there would not allow one of the players into the country because she is an Israeli. The WTA played the tour anyway. That is an absolute abomination; the WTA should be shunned for that.

Moreover, the players on that tour who participated in that tournament have now forfeited any and all claims they may ever have regarding how they might be discriminated against. If a player played under those conditions, she participated in that crass discriminatory act. The WTA and the players who participated in that event are loathsome.

The Atlanta Falcons say they would be willing to trade the rights to Michael Vick to another NFL team. I should say they would… I would also suspect that the phone has not been ringing off the hook in Falcons Headquarters. I have not had time to go back and review all of the events in last year’s “Michael Vick Saga”, so from memory let me hit a few of the high points:

    He may be released from prison in June 09 – - assuming that no added criminal behaviors are uncovered and added to his cafeteria tray before then.

    He will be a PR disaster wherever he goes to play.

    He is still suspended by the NFL and has to be reinstated by the same Commissioner to whom he lied about his involvement in dogfighting while the investigation was ongoing.

    He will be subject to the NFL substance abuse policy.

    He was involved in a gambling enterprise in addition to a dogfighting enterprise.

    He has not played football for 2 years.

    He still has a lot of time left on the 10-year contract that he signed about five years ago and that contract was worth something north of $125M. Assuming that lots of that money was in the form of an upfront bonus, let me guess that $50M is left to go on the contract over the next five or six years.

Forget any other “issues” here. The chances are that Michael Vick will not be able to play for an NFL team in 2009 and the best one might hope for would be to have him for the 2010 season – - assuming that he is a model citizen during the intervening year. So, what might another team be willing to offer for his services now in February 2008? A box of practice kicking tees?

Finally, here are two observations from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald that are definitely on point:

“The NFL combine begins Wednesday. Somebody told me it involved college players working out for pro teams. I had assumed it involved college players harvesting grain on large farm equipment.”

“Recently retired Brett Favre has waffled on intentions to tentatively cancel a news conference to announce plans to possibly change his mind.”

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

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Comments

  • JJC  On February 23, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Baseball and steriods or an Obama appointment who failed to pay taxes. You know, I’m not sure which one will be next or if I will even be surprised. You and I get caught doing either and we could visit Vick without the necessity of a vistors pass. Speaking of which, I can’t imagine any team being so hard up that they will take Vick who was well on his way of busting out of the NFL when he got busted out of the NFL. You don’t need a running QB when you’ve got the wildcat formation. Which also needs to go.

    It’s impossible to be underpaid for 22 years as the GM of any professional sport. Another team would have spotted the talent, snapped him up and everyone would win. But winning is something foreign to the Clippers so I can see how it would be forgotten. If he wanted to be grossly overpaid while grossly underperforming he should have gone to work on wall street. Given the sub-par results of the Clippers, many of them should just be happy getting a paycheck.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 23, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    JJC:

    One rumor is that your local team – - the Niners – - would be “interested” in Vick. I would love to get a video recroding of the first meeting between Vick and Mike Singletary. That might be pure gold…

    I have no idea if Elgin Baylor suffered discrimination in various aspects of his job with the Clippers; I was never there. However, to say that he was “grossly underpaid” for the job he did is simply a ridiculous claim given the results.

  • Rich  On February 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Do you believe that Selena Roberts’ leaked information was only about one of the one hundred and four positive testing major league baseball players?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 24, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Rich:

    Obviously, I don’t know what she has or how she got it.

    I SUSPECT that she does not have the entire list because if she did that would be an even bigger story to break than “outing” A-Rod.

    At the same time, I would have to believe that someone specifically targeted A-Rod for this public scrutiny/humiliation if his was the only test result she got – - and that seems far-fetched.

  • Ed  On February 24, 2009 at 3:38 am

    don’t count out humiliation for A-Roid alone as motivation – he has seemingly gotten along well with his ex… but could she have leaked it? A friend of hers? She might well have known A-Rod was doping, and told someone.. maybe even that Arod failed a test – he was free to tell his wife, who could she have told… who ended up tel;ling Roberts? There may be no crime at all

  • JJC  On February 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    The GM of SF has ruled out Vick. Singletary, apparently, forgot what city in which his teams plays. Vick would kill the Niners merchandise. I could believe he could go to the other side of the bay but with the state of the offensive line of the Raiders, I think double jeopardy would apply.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 24, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Ed:

    If all Selena Roberts had was a statement from A-Rod’s ex-wife, I don’t think that this story would have blown up so quickly. The fact that A-Rod admitted using steroids from the first words out of his mouth seems to say that she had “the goods” on him and he knew it. It stretches credulity to think that A-Rod would have taken documentation from the “failed test” home with him and shared that documentation with his wife and then let her keep a copy of it after the divorce proceedings.

    Indeed, there may not be any criminal action in the means by which Selena Roberts came into possession of her information. This may just be outstanding investigative reporting. But IF she got it from someone under the directive of a court to keep it sealed, then there may be an interesting second chapter to this story…

    JJC:

    I concede that Michael Vick would not fit well in the milieu of San Francisco. But tell the truth, if you could be watching the first face-to-face meeting between Coach Singletary and Aspiring QB Vick, wouldn’t that be ultra-cool.

    If the Raiders signed Vick and then found a mad scientist who could do a physical version of the Vulcan Mind Meld between Vick and JaMarcus Russell, they might wind up with one complete QB.

  • Rob  On February 28, 2009 at 2:09 am

    I would be interested in reading a book by Mike Tyson. It’s not often I get to read anything written by an insane person.

    A-Rod’s admission was, for me, the most heartbreaking out of the ones for baseball. I never liked Roger Clemens (for multiple reasons), and I could never sympathize with the moody and strange Barry Bonds. But A-Rod was personable and charismatic. His admission of steroid use is disappointing.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 2, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Rob:

    If you want to read a book by an insane person, try just about anything written by Kurt Vonnegut. The man was a genius; “genius” and “insanity” are next-door neighbors; it seems to me that he often went next-door to write…

    Barry Bonds has always been aloof – to put the prettiest face on him that I can. Roger Clemens has long been a selfish prima donna. Alex Rodriguez has a touch of narcissism in him but the thing about A-Rod that I always admired was that he played hard and he hustled all the time even though he had that outrageous $252M contract. Lots of players have eased up on the gas pedal for contracts a lot smaller than that one; he did not.

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