Correcting An Omission

Last week, I cited statistics on stolen bases given up by the Cardinals since the arrival of Yadier Molina as their catcher but I had lost the source of those stats. I had gone looking for the source in various St. Louis sports sites (seemed logical at the time) but a note from a reader in Houston correctly informed me that the source was Bob Smizik who used to write for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and who now posts a blog on that paper’s website. Thank you to my informant and a top of my hat to Bob Smizik for those stats.

Let me agree with Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot on this issue:

“Swan song: At 40 and coming back from back issues, Steve Nash said next season with the Lakers will be his last. Nash, who was active for only 15 games last season, is expected to contribute primarily as a mentor to younger backcourt players. Obviously, he’s hanging around for the money, but I still remember the nights in the mid-aughts when he was putting on a show with Phoenix and never made me regret staying up too late to watch.”

Steve Nash was always fun to watch because he played hard all the time and did not interrupt the game with any “look-at-me” antics.

Now let me agree with Bob Molinaro once again on this next issue:

“Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. At one point, somebody yelled: ‘Hey! There’s a player juicing!’ and all three looked the other way.”

Managers in particular had to choose not to realize that some of their players in the late 80s and 90s were using PEDs. When I think of “shot up teams”, the Braves do not leap to mind but they probably had some users in the clubhouse. However, the Yankees, the A’s and the Cardinals – the teams managed by Torre and LaRussa and the teams that won all of those games that got these gentlemen elected to the Hall of Fame – were serious and serial offenders when it came to steroids. I can accept Torre’s entry into the Hall of Fame because he was a borderline candidate as a player and I can accept Cox’s entry too. However, I have said since the day the votes were counted that putting Tony LaRussa in the Hall of Fame is a travesty. His plaque should have the likeness of Sgt. Schultz on it.

This morning on a headline reads:

    “What does Tiger Woods’ most recent injury mean for golf?”

I do not think it is important for you to go and read the article that follows that headline; there is not a ton of insight there. However, Woods’ injury is merely a foreshadowing of a day sometime in the future when Tiger Woods will no longer be capable of playing competitive golf on the PGA Tour. What that means is that the PGA needs to consider very carefully how it is going to promote/market itself when that day arrives. Today, if Woods plays on a weekend, ratings are good; if he does not play, ratings crater. My interpretation of that situation is that the PGA and the golf writers have focused so much attention on Tiger Woods – to the exclusion of many other players on the tour – that the public just does not care about lots of other players on the tour. Woods’ injuries/surgeries this year ought to be an alarm bell for the PGA to come up with a new promotional strategy. Somehow, I am not sanguine they have focused on that point.

The Superintendent of the Air Force Academy had called for an investigation into the Academy’s athletic programs based on an extensive report in the Colorado Springs Gazette. That very lengthy report is based on documents obtained from the Academy via the Freedom of Information Act. The paper cites problems associated with “academic issues”, drug use, sexual abuse and “honor code violations” associated with cadet-athletes. There is one section that says the authorities were considering a “sting” to uncover problems but called it off because they feared they could not properly protect the undercover folks who would be doing the stinging. If true, that is a damning situation all around the Academy.

The report is long but it is good investigative reporting. You can read it here:

Last week, I said that the NFL had been too lenient with regard to the suspension issued to Ray Rice. My sentiment obviously coincided with Scott Ostler’s thinking on the subject based on these comments from the SF Chronicle over the weekend:

“Stripping away all the technicalities, legalese, comparisons and bullcorn: Ray Rice cold-cocked a woman in an elevator.

“Maybe the NFL and the players’ union should get together and agree that punching a woman unconscious is at least as wrong as smoking a doobie.”

Can I get an “Amen!” here…?

I think we have reached a tipping point with regard to sporting figures coming out. Jason Collins was the first active male pro athlete to announce that he is gay; Michael Sam was the first player to enter the NFL Draft openly gay. Now we have another “first”…

    Violet Palmer – the NBA’s first female official – came out as a lesbian announcing that she will marry her long-term partner.

Good for her and for her partner. Now … can we acknowledge that any future announcements of this type get shunted directly to the agate section of the sports page? The only thing I would even begin to care about with regard to Violet Palmer’s announcement is this:

    With that burden off her shoulders, will she get better as an official – because she really needs to get better?

Finally, here is a rhetorical question from Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle regarding the Niner’s new stadium that opens this year:

“Big question about Levi’s Stadium: Will it shrink after a rain?”

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

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  • david egbert  On August 4, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Also interesting to see Charlie Strong kick a buch of players off the Texas team for violations. Good to see some of these dirty programs get cleaned up.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

      david egbert:

      I would not have put the Air Force athletic programs on a list of “dirty programs” until I read the report here. I do agree that some kind of “clean-up” is needed at many schools and I am certain that the NCAA is not up to the task of doing the cleansing.

      • Doug  On August 5, 2014 at 6:17 am

        As long as winning coaches can demand $millions, there will be abuses in college football Wait, let me correct that. There is cheating in peewee football. There is cheating at the grocery store checkout line. There is cheating on middle school math tests. We are a nation that will cheat if given a chance of success. Pretending to care about it has become the norm in society, but no one is actually doing anything.

        • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 5, 2014 at 9:42 am


          Particularly in college athletics – in the revenue sports – there is a huge incentive to cheat. Winning brings prestige and money to the school; in turn that brings prestige and money to the coach(es). Money and prestige are potent motivators…

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