Monday, July 23, 2007

Thoughts that hit on a lazy Sunday in Maryland...

Those that know me well know that I would rather be talking about what players are doing on the field, or when off the field, what they are doing to help - Saints defender Charles Grant buying the Saints administrative assistants lunch, Drew Bledsoe and his foundation, the work many Boston area pro-athletes do with the Jimmy Fund. There's a lot that many big-leaguers have to offer to the community, and many do.

Then there's what's happening now.

With Vick.

After today I am going to make an effort to stay away from this story as much as possible considering what the media saturation is going to be like. However, I wanted to touch on a few quick things that have not yet come up.

If indeed Vick is found guilty he could miss up to seven seasons, assuming he doesn't play this year. Or he could receive a suspended sentence, probation, or a number of other options. Assuming he remains free after a guilty verdict, whether on probation, or for some other reason, this opens up a whole new can of worms for the NFL and the Falcons.

The studies will start coming out of the wood-work. The studies that PETA, the SPCA, and every mental-health professional in the united states has on file that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to abuse people at some point in their life. Or people will begin creating psychological profiles of Vick based on passages like the following:

In 88 percent of 57 New Jersey families being treated for child abuse, animals in the home had been abused. An unpublished study by Frank Ascione of Utah State University found a strong pattern suggesting that child abuse victims are more likely to harm animals.

Ascione found that 25.5 percent of physically abused children were cruel to animals, 13.2 percent of sexually abused children were cruel to animals, and 34 percent of both physically and sexually abused children were cruel to animals, while only
4.7 percent of non-abused children were cruel to animals.

To put it bluntly, Vick can kiss endorsements goodbye if he is found culpable in any way, shape, or form - and with black community leaders like Al Sharpton and hip-hop mogul Bill Simmons publicly siding with PETA and calling for corporate America to cancel those deals, it's likely to happen anyway.

Just 'cause he was a running back doesn't mean he has to stick his foot in his mouth...

But Emmitt Smith went and did it anyway. I won't reprint Smith's statements, but he said, in essence, that Vick was probably going to end up taking the fall for everybody else because he was the biggest fish in the pond.

I don't know how they sounded when he said them, but the way they read comes off as a"Vick's being railroaded by the government" sort of sentiment. Of course it couldn't be because they believe that Vick could be bankrolling the dogfighting ring, could it? No...the money behind it couldn't be coming from the athlete with the $130 million contract.

Anyone else wondering if Emmit Smith's ESPN career will be over before it began? Come to think of it - with the way they're going, Smith is's not like he has sexually harassed any of the people behind the scenes.

Will the real slim shortstop please stand up?

Over the last six weeks the Red Sox have gone through their toughest stretch of the season. I'm not talking about scheduling - I'm talking about hitting.

They have been brutal, leaving an inordinate number of men on base. The clutch hitting has been non-existent. Baseball's best three-four combo in the game has been mediocre, and Kevin Youkilis - a big reason why the offense got along with Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz hitting like...well, Dave Magadan - has five hits in his last 31 at-bats over the last ten games. His average has dipped from .324 to .310 during that time.

However, following three losses, the Sox had three wins. Mostly due to timely hitting from the team's lightweights - Coco Crisp, and Julio Lugo.

Lugo has been something of a freak, and it's time for the real Julio to stand-up.

In spite of hitting below the Mendoza line for a greater portion of the season than any regular has the right to, somehow Lugo is tied for fourth on the team in RBI's with 47, and leads the team in stolen bases, in spite of the fact that his .291 on base percentage ranks him ahead of only Wily Mo Pena and Doug Mirabelli among position players on the team.

The freakish thing really is the last ten games, after he broke out of a slump that felt much too long. Over the last week and a half's worth of games, Lugo is 16 of 39 (.410), 7 RBI, and a grand slam.

To put that in perspective - Ortiz over the same time frame - 14 of 40 (.350), 9 RBI, and two homers.

Will the real Sox shortstop please stand up? I'd like to know what to expect for the second half.


Dave said...

Lugo is the most baffling player I have ever seen. I literally have no idea on what to expect from him.

As for the poor play, be thankful for the first half of the year. As of today, if the Sox play .500 ball the rest of the year, they'll have a record of 96-66, which should win them the East. Guess those games in April do mean something...

Kevin Smith said...

I figure, from looking at his career stats, that the first half has to be an aberration, maybe a hangover from his time in LA. That said - the last couple of weeks are also a bot of an aberration as he's hitting well over .400 during that time.

If he can settle down and be a .280 hitter withe the Sox and knock in around 80 per, I'll be pretty happy with the signing.

Lord only knows if that will happen.