To give you a time perspective here, my two sons are 40 and 38 years old as of this morning. When they were “single digits” in ages, we would often watch Sesame Street together. That viewing experience is the inspiration for today’s rant. As in many of the old-time Sesame Street episodes, today’s rant is brought to you by the letter “T”.
First up this week with news related to the letter “T”, are the Colorado Rockies. Their best player – without a lot of debate – is Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies figured that it might be a good idea to give something to their loyal fans that would link those fans to Tulowitzki. After all, the Rockies are down almost 1000 fans per game this year as compared to last year; creating a buzz amongst the fans might not be a bad idea.
So, the Rockies decided to give away a T-shirt that looked like a Rockies’ uniform and with Tulowitzki’s name and number on the back of the shirt. This makes ultimate sense; he is the Rockies’ best player; he is a four-time All-Star; he has won a Gold Glove award; he has won a Silver Slugger award. There is no doubt that Troy Tulowitzki deserves whatever accolades and celebration that the Rockies choose to give him.
The Rockies did not do anything close to “sufficient quality control” when they began to give away shirts with the name “Tulowizki” on the back.
What’s missing? Of course, it is the letter “t” in the middle of his name…
The Rockies obviously need to make amends with their fans over this egregious error. What the team has done is to offer to exchange the “misspelled jersey” for one with the name spelled correctly at a variety of venues. In addition, if fans turn in the jersey with the name spelled wrong for one with the name spelled right, that fan can also get a free ticket to a future game – this year or next year – at no charge.
Notwithstanding the complimentary ticket offer, I wonder how Rockies’ fans might feel should the team decide to trade “Tulo” between now and the nominal baseball trade deadline of 1 August. On one hand, the team would have bid “Sayonara” to its best player. On the other hand, he was not going to lead the Rockies to anywhere interesting this season and that is how he became “expendable” in the first place.
The next item starting with the letter “T” is Mark Trumbo of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his first years with the Angels in Anaheim, he never hit much for average; but he did provide power and RBIs in his first three MLB seasons. In fact, he averaged 94 RBIs per year in his first three full seasons there. He was second in Rookie of the Year voting and was an All-Star in Anaheim but the presence of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout made him expendable so he now finds himself in Arizona and adjusting to the National League. Yes, he had an injury that kept him out of games earlier this year, but at the moment, he is hitting .193 with 7 HRs and 22 RBIs and his OPS is down about 120 points. It has not been an auspicious year for Mark Trumbo…
Next up, you might ask the question:
Who – or what – is “tough on domestic violence”?
The answer would have to be:
Not Roger Goodell or the NFL.
The Commish and the league took a stand on domestic violence with a 2-game suspension for Ray Rice after his well-publicized domestic violence incident – the last part of which was caught on video tape. There was an opportunity for the NFL to take a stand on an important issue and the NFL took a pass instead. In a league where the commissioner hands out fines and suspensions for violent and vicious hits, that same league and that same commissioner chose to give a slap on the wrists to a player who was involved in a violent and vicious hit that was completely avoidable. Sir Winston Churchill urged on the British citizenry in the dark early days of WW II with these words:
“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’ ”
Well, this was not the NFL’s finest hour… The league had – handed to it on a silver platter – an opportunity to take a stand on domestic violence and it chose to look the other way. Personally, I find the 2-game suspension much too lenient here particularly when compared to the standard 4-game suspension that follows a second failed test for recreational drug use. I do not want anyone to think that I am endorsing recreational drug use; but when compared to domestic violence, it is a secondary “offense”.
The final issue/story of the moment brought to you by the letter “T” is the threat by folks like Chris Paul and Doc Rivers that they might sit out the next NBA season as a boycott if Donald T. Sterling continues to own the LA Clippers. Would they really do that? If reports are correct, Rivers makes $7M per year to coach the Clippers and has two more years left on his deal. If he reneged on his contract, he would leave $14M on the table. Paul’s contract calls for him to make just over $20M next season and $44M over the next two years plus he has a player option to stay with the Clips in 2017/18 for a tidy $24.3M. He might walk away from more than $85M with his boycott – but that is what reports say he is poised to do next year.
I have had nothing good to say about Donald Sterling here; I surely do not condone his behaviors or share his views on race. Nevertheless, I have to wonder if Chris Paul and/or Doc Rivers – not to mention other players for the Clippers and other players in the NBA – would forfeit the kind of money guaranteed in their contracts over a social issue. If they carry through with their threat, they will take a stronger stand on the issue than did the MFL with regard to domestic violence.
Finally, consider this comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald with regard to a sports entity and domestic violence and compare it to the NFL position as of today:
“UFC parted ways with Fort Lauderdale fighter Thiago Silva after his arrest on a battery charge. Yeah, because the last thing UFC needs is to be associated with violence!”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………