Thursday, February 26, 2009

This Week's Example of Bad Judgement

Are you kidding me?!?

In the same week that Alex Rodriguez admits to the world that he and his cousin partook in performance enhancers but shrugs it off as harmless side-effects of youth and stupidity, the Yankees slugger gets into an SUV driven by the same cousin after a spring training game yesterday.

What part of that seemed like a good idea for a guy who is trying to convince the world that his steroid use was limited to 2001-2003?? I tell ya, he's making the "stupidity" part of his defense seem more and more believable by the day.

If I was A-Rod's manager, I would chase him around the Yankees training facility with a bat, screaming, "IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO MAKE THIS SITUATION WORSE THAN IT ALREADY IS?"

Jebus...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Picture of the Week

Jimmy Jeong/Canadian Press

Captions, anyone?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Article

From SI.com, a great article about Carlos Delgado, who has always been one of my very favourite players.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sports Shorts

  • Nice to see the news that Ken Griffey Jr. is going to back to Seattle, where it all began. I can't think of anything nicer than ending his career where he is universally loved and admired. It will always strike me as profoundly unfortunate that injuries so affected his great career.

  • He's sick... the guy is just sick.
  • Speaking of young hockey stars, I heard something interesting on the radio yesterday or the day before about the hype around Sydney Crosby and how, predictably, we might have been a bit hasty in suggesting that he would be the greatest of all time. That's not to say that Crosby will not be a great hockey player, but chances are that he will only ever be one of many great hockey players. It makes one think that perhaps we need to rethink how quickly we throw around predictions of Amazingness. Gretzky was a once-in-a-lifetime player, and we will probably not see his kind again.
  • Israeli Tennis player Shahar Peer was recently denied entrance into the United Arab Emirates because of her nationality. Lots of interesting commentary on the incident, and the WTA's response to it here.
  • How exciting was it to watch Michelle Wie almost win in the first LPGA tournament of the season? If she keeps this up, the embarassment of recent years will fade into the distant past with merciful rapidity.
  • And I'm excited for Tiger to come back. Just sayin'!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

25 Things About Me and Baseball

I kinda stole this idea from Towanda, but her list was so fantastic that I couldn't help it!

1. I love the way that ballparks smell. It's a funny kind of combination of peanuts and beer and fresh air and rosin. There's no other smell like it in the world, and it's fantastic.

2. I've been to two major league games. WH took me to a Jays-Orioles game in Toronto when we were dating. Surprisingly, the Orioles lay a drubbing on Roy Halladay. And then last summer, WH and I went to a Cubs-Giants game in San Francisco. It was awesome to see such a classic rivalry and in the end, the Giants came from behind to win, but it was so cold sitting out there by the bay that we only made it about 4 innings before we headed back to the hotel and watched the rest on TV.

3. I've been to a bunch of minor league games here in Prairie City and I've loved every single one of them. The most memorable was a game for which Kevin Brown pitched in an injury rehab start for the opposing team. He got paid $900,000 to play that game, more than probably the entire lineup of Prairie City team combined.

4. John Olerud was my favourite player from the Blue Jays World Series winning teams. He just seemed like such a nice, quiet man, and WOW could he hit the baseball.

5. I hate the New York Yankees.

6. I like keeping score. I enjoy it so much that I'll keep score for games I'm watching on TV .

7. I played intramural softball for about five years and I umped for a couple of summers. Umpires have a very, very difficult job.

8. I know that it's a topic of great controversy, but I don't really mind the designated hitter. I mean, all sports have specialized players, and I would frankly rather watch a DH hit the ball well, than watch a pitcher whiff away just because he has to take an at-bat.

9. Chewing tobacco is a disgusting habit.

10. Baseball is the only professional sport I know where the coach wears the same uniform as the players. That is one of the most ridiculous pieces of baseball trivia out there. I mean, who cares?

11. They have these garlic fries at AT&T park in San Francisco that are unbelievable. SO GOOD. They are a kind of signature food for the park and rightly so. If you ever go that way, you must try them. You must!

12. I think that my favourite play in baseball is a watching an outfielder try to throw out a runner at home because to do it successfully, so many different things have to go absolutely right. When it all works, it's like poetry in motion.

13. One of the things you lose watching a game on TV is a sense of how everybody on the field works together on every single play. There's a great moment just before the pitch is thrown when everything seems still, and then as soon as the pitcher releases the ball, everybody starts moving. Given how many players are involved, it's a wonder how rarely they get in each other's way.

14. I've always thought it would be a great trip to drive across the US, hitting as many ball parks as you could along the way.

15. If you want to get on my nerves, say this: "You watch baseball? But it's so boring." But be prepared that I will then pester you mercilessly with all the reasons why you're wrong.

16. This is a great book.

17. I'm fascinated by catchers. I think that former catchers make excellent managers because catchers have to know everything that is going on on the field at any given time. Catchers have a good sense of the strategy of the game, how all the pieces - offensive and defensive - fit together. I think that the importance of the catcher is karma giving a little boost to all of the kids who were told to play catcher on their school teams because they were perceived to be the least able.

18. I really like A League of their Own.

19. The singing of God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch was a very moving and emotional tribute after 9/11. But it's time to put it to rest now. The seventh inning stretch should be about Take me out to the ballgame, sung loudly and off-key, preferably by Harry Caray. Sigh...

20. I've eaten peanuts at a ball game, but never crackerjacks.

21. Is there anything more beautiful than a 6-4-3 double play with one out and the bases loaded? I thought not. Well, maybe a strike out with two out and the bases loaded.

22. It took me a strangely long time to figure out that the spring training cactus league was in Arizona and the grapefruit league was in Florida. Duh.

23. I missed Joe Carter's famous home run to win the 1993 World Series. A friend's mom told me about it: "Oh, by the way, they won. Somebodyorother hit a home run and they won."

24. Setting aside PED's for the moment, I remember being totally entranced by the McGuire/Sosa home run chase. I went out and bought a St. Louis Cardinals jersey because I was rooting for McGuire to come out on top. Knowing what we know now, the chase takes on a kind of sad backstory, but at the time, I still maintain that what we were watching was incredible.

25. I think that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. I know, I know, he bet on baseball and lied about it and was, frankly, a bastard. And I certainly understand why the consequences for those actions were so harsh. So I say, put the whole story in the Hall of Fame. The skill, the talent, the statistics, the accomplishments, the downfall. Tell it like it is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Westminster

I didn't actually get a chance to watch the second day of the Westminster dog show last night, but I was please this morning to see this beautiful dog standing next to the Best in Show ribbon. Isn't he lovely? Some members of my family and I were at the animal shelter last weekend adopting a kitten, and there was a spaniel much like Stump being courted by a number of people. At the time we left, it was looking good for him to find a home!

So, official count of Happy Spaniels in the world this week: at least 2!

Monday, February 9, 2009

For the Record

I'm not surprised.

I never liked the guy, so it's kinda nice to feel vindicated in my opinion.

I think the whole thing - the drug use and the explanation for it - reeks of ego and greed.

And I choose to make that all I want to say about it right now!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How is he not in jail yet?

BIG news (no pun intended) yesterday out of the Barry-Bonds-upcoming-trial-for-"perjury" camp. The judge in the case unsealed the evidence that the prosecutors had accumulated against the slugger, thereby uncovering a substantial quantity of proof indicating that...

... drumroll please...

Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs.

Ok, so this piece of news doesn't exactly qualify as ground-shaking. But you know what does surprise me and has surprised me since we began to hear some of the more intimate details of the Clemens investigation?

I was never surprised that professional athletes took drugs. I think every Canadian that remembers the Olympics in Seoul and the positive drug test that took down Ben Johnson developed a veil of cynicism about athletes and performance enhancement. But until the last couple of years, the Mitchell Report, Clemens and Bonds, I had no idea how... disgusting the whole business is. I'm not sure how many more stories about injection sites, side effects, dirty medical practice, syringes etc. I can stomach. I mean... EWWWWW.

How does anybody with a sound mind look ahead to all the vast and miserable downsides of a career dependent on chemicals and think that those downsides don't outweight the one positive, that you might enjoy one or two moments of glory before the whole thing comes crashing down around you? And of course the answer is that anybody with a sound mind sees the picture for what it is; it is those with unsound, or perhaps, undeveloped minds that are the targets of those who are invested in this business. And this group, sadly, often includes young athletes.

So, of course, there is considerable burden on parents, coaches and teachers of young athletes to send hard and strong messages about PEDs, to monitor young athlete activity, to be aware of who else is targetting young athletes and to remind athletes that that moment of glory so sought after by people like Bonds is achievable on a different path than the one he chose. If those parents, coaches and teachers are looking for effective messaging, I suggest starting with Bond's trainer's description of injection site cysts, as found in the article above.

Excuse me whilst I gag.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beginnings

I've started to blog solely for the purpose of writing about sports, one of my favourite topics to read, write, talk and watch.

I wrote the post below on my "regular" blog and thought it would make a great cross-post here for a start!
_____________________

Today's post is dedicated to making a little fun of Phil Mickelson, largely because of the following quotation, which I found on golf.com. Phil uttered these words after his early exit at last weekend's FBR open, a tournament at which he went 7 over-par and missed the cut by seven strokes.

This does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm about this year. I'm excited about how I'm putting. I'm excited about how I'm driving it off the tee.

Seems innocent enough, eh?

Let's start with the last sentence, shall we? I'm excited about how I'm driving it off the tee. Really, Phil? Are you REALLY excited??? REALLY? The reason I have my doubts is that, frankly, you drove off the tee like crap last week. To be specific, David Toms had the best driving accuracy last weekend, at 69.64%. The average through the field was 50.48%. Your driving accuracy was 28.6% TWENTY-EIGHT POINT SIX PERCENT, Phil. Of a possible 28 fairways, you hit 8 of them. ... EIGHT! I've been golfing for two years, and I suck, and I HIT MORE THAN 28% OF THE FAIRWAYS I FACE.

And your putting? YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR PUTTING?! You are currently 155th on tour in putts per round. Thirty putts per round was your average for the two rounds you played in Scottsdale, Phil. Not exactly a statistic I'd write home about in the same sentence as the word "excited," unless the sentence also included the words, "not," "at," and "all."

Phil, Phil, Phil. I think the reason that some people don't like you is that you can come across as phony. And here's a perfect example why. I would have more respect for you if your post-tournament comments this last weekend were more along the lines of, "Boy, was that ever bad. B-A-D. I'm really going to have to do better if I hope to crack a top-ten this year, let alone win something. Back to the driving range, I go!" We know you're capable of this, Phil. After the disaster at Winged Foot, you said, "I can't believe I did that. I'm such an idiot." And we loved the comment because it was true!!