Friday, May 12, 2006

Fresh Squeezed Corn

I’m going to start off by saying I’ve been driven crazy this week.  I know, nobody wants to hear how anyone else has had a week from hell, cause we all have 50+ ones each year.  The Fox blog has sucked me away from here more than I expected, and it’s been frustrating.  At least I now know that this has become an addiction – it’s as irritating as when I go a week without working out.  I was hoping to do double-duty, but work, our electric company, the IRS, and tons of other intervening agencies have slammed that door shut.  Ugh.  I have a couple of write ups that I’m DYING to get done, but in the meantime, here’s an assortment of things that I can squeeze out quickly (just like corn!):

Damon Jones: STFU.  You were annoying as a limelight-moocher last year with the Heat, and when you wear exotic animal’s fur to get your 15 minutes in the locker room because you can’t get 15 minutes on the court…it’s time to just be quiet.

As Alonzo Mourning gets his wind back, it will slam the chances of a Nets’ upset shut.  

Ashlee: you have to be kidding if you didn’t think we’d notice.

If you haven’t seen Stephen Colbert’s White House Correspondants’ Dinner speech yet, get with the program by going here.  In fact, pass it along to Jon Stewart so that he might be reminded of how to roast the administration and still be funny at the same time.  The Colbert Report is killing the Daily Show now like the Daily Show used to kill Saturday Night Live in the late 90s.

IRS:  Chris was right, you all are gangsters...and on the pipe.

24 and LOST are hurtling towards their season finales with only a couple weeks left.  I’d have to say that my interest in the Bauer Hour has declined, partly due to weariness of increasingly formulaic writing and partly due to my exposure to the far superior Shield.  The series has been extended for 3 more seasons with Keifer and, more promisingly, has been greenlit for the big screen.  I could see the movie adaptation (rumored to be set before the events of the first season) being a well-needed breath of fresh air.  A second LOST column is one of the write ups that I’m kicking myself over.  Specifically, the unanswered questions on the island, more numerous than you might believe.  At this point, you can reflect on the first season and realize we were kept virtually in the dark.  Further, at least 5 more seasons of revelations doesn’t seem to be that bad of a pace when weighed against the unknown.  I’ve strongly suspected all year that this season will end with the re-emergence of Walt (though not the Walt we knew), which will tie into the death of Michael.  I don’t know that for fact, those aren’t spoilers, just what I suspect.

Tom: crazy doesn’t pay.  If you believed in psychiatrists, they could have told you that.

I would pay attention to New Orleans’ reclamation efforts in regards to its two pro franchises.  There was quite a blow up last year when Tom Benson played his hand a little too openly and was engulfed in a Cajun firestorm over his desire to permanently relocate to Texas.  Now, after a season full of return guarantees by commissioner David Stern, Hornets owner George Shinn sounds like a man who’s hedging.  He first made some ripples by bemoaning the “discouraging” lack of progress in the Crescent City’s rebuilding, mentioning that the season ticket deposit numbers would be monitored.  Now, his lawyer may have paved the way for a lease loophole, stating that a Louisiana-funded practice facility would need to be set up in order for the Hornets to return.  This all has the familiar ring of my buddy Ted, who builds in his excuses over five months in preparation for a midnight hour pull out.  The smoke signals look the same from here.  I can’t really blame the owners, though.  Their commissioners seem to be purely concerned with PR and image, knowing the backlash they’ll get for abandoning a city that needs credibility to rebound.  Yet the owners are faced with the reality that this was a city that was struggling to support them before and whose prospects have been obliterated for at least a decade.  As every traded player will tell you, pro sports is a business.  It’s bad business to put a big money attraction in a small market town.  

Note to all non-Oregon NBA teams: resist the urge to sign or trade for Darius Miles or Zach Randolph, arguably the two worst personalities in the game today.  Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope for a Rasheed-like redemption in a new setting, but I don’t personally recommend guys that get suspended for leaving a game early because they had to “get to a party.”  Montell Williams needs to send those two malcontents to boot camp.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bonds, Babe, and Big Mac

As he prepares to tie Babe Ruth for #2 all-time in career home runs, Barry Bonds has become a staple conversation piece for every sports radio show in America.  Bud Selig’s decision to snub Barry’s tying and passing home runs has added plenty of firewood for the topic.  I suppose I could hop on board the filler wagon (hey, one less original idea to come up with), but I won’t bother with the main topic of whether we should or should not celebrate the achievement.  I’m more drawn in to the Bonds-McGwire comparisons that have been used in arguments lately.

The pro-Barry camp and the devil’s advocates within the anti-Barry camp frequently declare that it is a double standard for America to root against Bonds passing Ruth when America revered McGwire passing Maris.  Inevitably, the race card is pulled after the “friendly image” discrepancy.  I don’t think that’s fair nor accurate, at least for the majority of fans, and I’d like to explain my thoughts as to why.

Cheating Some History Revisionists like to claim that “no one was calling McGwire a cheater” back when he chased 69.  That simply wasn’t so.  There was a stir over McGwire and his watermelon-sized forearms.  However, it was a gray area in that (a) baseball had no steroid policy at the time and (b) McGwire openly told the media that he was using Andro, a steroid precursor that was legal in the U.S. at the time.  It was after this time that Congress banned the drug.  Bonds, however, has denied using anything at all and is accused with mounting evidence of using illegal and banned substances.  That isn’t to say that McGwire did no wrong, but rather McGwire’s size was not brushed under the rug nor was it as upsetting as what is alleged of Bonds.

Race There’s little I detest more than the race card being pulled like a knee jerk reaction.  It’s demeaning and too often abused in today’s society.  If this were simply about a black man threatening a white man’s record, why was hot rival Sammy Sosa so beloved during McGwire’s 1998 campaign?  Bonds himself is commonly reported to accuse the media and fans of racial bias, but little evidence ever backs these claims up.  

In my opinion, Bonds has such an anti-fan base because he’s had a long career building an undesirable reputation and image and because many believe that he is lying about steroids.  I think the public is far more forgiving about substance use than they are given credit for right now; Giambi and Sheffield are hardly outcasts in the MLB.  More precisely, I believe that it is the (possible) lying that galls Americans.  McGwire may not be the correct comparison for Bonds and his treatment.  A better comparison might be Pete Rose.