So Long – And Thanks For All The Fish…

According to a report in this morning’s Washington Post, Donald Fehr will get a severance package worth $11M from MLBPA when he steps down as the Executive Director. I have never been a fan of Donald Fehr. Most of the folks in the media relish taking pot-shots at Bud Selig; I think Donald Fehr is far more to blame for perceived shortcomings of MLB than is Bud Selig.

The players recently voted to approve this severance package. They must have seen this as a “Lifetime Achievement Award” because Donald Fehr and his minions seem to be the main culprits in the leaking of PED abusers’ names from that anonymous testing list in 2003. Scott Ostler summed up that situation succinctly in the SF Chronicle:

“The baseball players’ union made that 2003 survey testing necessary because of its determination to fight any testing. Then the union failed to properly educate the players. Then for the survey testing it signed off on a confusing system the union now seems not to understand. Then the union failed to destroy the “guilty” list when it had a chance. So it’s the media’s fault that some players are having their reputations tarnished unfairly?”

I wish no evil to befall Donald Fehr. Nonetheless, from my perspective his departure from the sporting scene is a case of good riddance.

Sticking with baseball, was anyone really surprised to learn that Manny Ramirez was not in the dugout to see Jimmy Rollins hit his walk-off double in Game 4 of the NLCS? Did it take that reporting to shock you into the realization that Manny Ramirez is not a great teammate? It is a bit surprising that when confronted with the story by the LA media, Manny steadfastly maintained that this was no big deal; I would have thought Scott Boras would have advised him to go into his goofing and jiving mode to deflect some of the criticism there.

Manny Ramirez is going to have to take a pay cut next year if the Dodgers exercise the option they hold on his contract. He will not like that. So, Dodger fans need to prepare themselves for Manny to start being Manny sometime soon – – and by that I mean being the Manny who forced his way out of Boston with asocial behaviors and feigned injuries. The bloom is off the rose in LA…

If you were the Dodgers’ owner(s) and you were going through a divorce that could split assets in a very inconvenient way, which party of the two would be in a position to make a decision as to whether or not to pick up the option on Manny’s contract? This situation could get very interesting. By the way, if that option were not exercised, what other MLB team would bid for Manny’s services in the $22-25M range. Anyone hearing Elton John singing:

    M-M-M-Manny and the Mets…

Speaking of the Mets, there are now reports that the Wilpons did not get taken to the cleaners by Bernie Madoff but in fact may have profited to the tune of $48-50M from his Ponzi scheme. That information comes from a lawsuit filed by people who lost money in the “Madoff Mess” and if their assertions hold, the Wilpons may have to forego those profits even though there is no allegation that they were complicit with Madoff in the Ponzi scheme. The Mets mascot really ought to be the old Al Capp character, Joe Btfsplk – – the guy who was so unlucky he did not even have a vowel in his name.

Here is a philosophical question for you to ponder:

    Is Manny Ramirez the Terrell Owens of baseball – – or


The US men’s soccer team is in the World Cup Tournament to be held in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. After finishing second in the Confederations Cup this year – and beating Spain in the process of getting to the final game –, the expectation for the US Team is that it will surpass its rather dismal showing in the 2006 World Cup. Three years ago, the US lost to Ghana and to the Czech Republic in Group Play. The fact that they also played eventual champion, Italy, to a tie did not alter the fact that they had an early departure for home. Next year, they really do need to get out of Group Play and into the elimination round.

Dwight Perry had this soccer item recently in the Seattle Times:

“Liverpool soccer fans were stunned when their team lost 1-0 to Sunderland on a shot that deflected off an unlikely escapee from the stands — a beach ball.

“Soccer historians immediately dubbed it the Sand of God goal.”

The Wall Street Journal is not a source often cited here. Recently, the Journal had a column suggesting that the NFL might want to get rod of domed stadiums because the stadiums confer an advantage to home teams not matched by traditional stadiums. The column cited the undefeated Colts, Saints and Vikings and the undefeated-at-home Falcons to support the idea of a dome advantage.

That sounds good on the surface until you consider also the unassailable fact that the Detroit Lions play their home games in a dome and managed to lose 19 consecutive NFL games in the very recent past. Oh, and the St. Louis Rams have now lost 16 games in a row despite playing in – – you guessed it – – a domed stadium.

Let me be clear. I prefer outdoor football – – and baseball for sure – – to dome venues. Any city that would choose to tear the roof off its domed stadium and turn it into a “regular stadium” will get no argument from me. Nevertheless, I cannot accept the “unfair advantage” argument to bolster my preference here…

It is Quick Quiz time:

    1. Which NFL coach will hold his job the longest, Jim Zorn, Dick Jauron or Norv Turner?

    2. Will Tom Cable, Wade Phillips and/or John Fox still have their current jobs on March 1, 2010?

Finally, since I quoted Scott Ostler above on one aspect of the steroids-in-baseball-situation, let me use another of his observations related to that issue here:

Gynecomastia is a womanly chest on a male. Those afflicted allegedly include Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez, also known as AA-Rod.

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

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  • Ed  On October 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I think the Wilpons lost personal money – the Mets organization is the one who drew money out of Madoff’s scheme,197551

    Hey, WSJ – think maybe the “unfair advantage” those dome teams have is Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Brett Favre? Certainly 2 of the 3 best QBS, if not the top 2, and a certain HOF QB if he ever stays retired? Take your average team, with an average QB, and let them have a domed home. I’ll take an average team, other than I get one of those 3 guys at QB, and I’ll take my chances.

    Gynecomastia? Is that what Phil Mickelson had a couple of years ago when he was the opnly PGA golfer who could endorse the Wonderbra?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 27, 2009 at 9:56 am


    Well, if the Wilpons lost personal money and the Mets took money out of the Madoff Ponzi scheme, I believe that the Mets can be sued by victims for the money they took out of the pot. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that is consistent with the law.

    Your recollection of Phil Mickelson from a few years ago suffering from gynecomastia is on point…

  • Ed  On October 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Right on Madoff/Mets – the government is supposedly looking at trying to get whatever “profits” were drawn out of the funds.

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