Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reaping what they sow

The house of cards that Roger Clemens has built is crumbling. Quickly.

Consider - Sure, his accuser is about as shady as back alley with a roof covering, but Brian McNamee has had his story corroborated by multiple sources, including by Clemens' buddy Andy Pettitte, fellow steroid distributor Kirk Radomski, and even to some extent, by Clemens himself (way to throw your wife under the bus, Roger).

Clemens has a baby sitter who appears to have been tampered with and a Jose Canseco testimony that appears to have been contradicted by photographic evidence.

To put it plainly, if you're going to do something illegal, don't leave a paper trail. It will come back to feast on your ass like a rabid hyena on a slow, fat kid.

As far as one's arrogance leading to digging a hole for one's self, Brett Favre is quickly making himself into the second coming of Terrell Owens.

Evidently he spoke in vague generalities while accusing Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy of not being honest with him. The Packers GM and Coach responded with specifics as to repeatedly asking Favre back.

As near as I can tell, Favre was upset that Thompson a) failed to re-sign two of Favre long-time protectors along the line, opting instead for youth along the O-line, b) failed to land Randy Moss in a trade, refusing to mortgage the future of the team in so doing. In essence, Favre doesn't trust Thompson because Thompson wants Favre to be a quarterback, and not do his general managing job for him. Go figure.

Now, Favre is "tempted to call their bluff," but is unwilling to file the paperwork for reinstatement until it wouldn't cost him any money to avoid mandatory minicamps and to just come into training camp - where he could, effectively, be disruptive.

The funny thing, in his effort to create public support, all he has done is alienate even the majority of Packer fans. A recent show of support for the NFL's least wanted man outside of Lambeau drew fewer than 200 fans.

And, often times, those who are supporting Favre are not only blinded by their hero-worship, but evidently aren't as knowledgeable as people like to say Packers fans are supposed to be - as demonstrated by this recent letter to Mike Silver -

“Your article about making the hard call in Green Bay shows why you write for a living and are not in football operations. If Green Bay’s GM dumps a proven Pro Bowl QB over QB who hasn’t proven anything he won’t be a GM for long.”

Ken Biddle

Let's see -

Daryle Lamonica was replaced by Kenny Stabler, and he was replaced by Jim Plunkett. Nobody was complaining about Al Davis' personnel moves in the early 1980's

Joe Montana was traded in favor of Steve Young who wasn't showing a whole lot in Tampa. Sure, the 49ers brain-trust caught some flak when they traded Montana, but three Super Bowl trophies later, no San Fran fan is saying that it was the wrong move.

And, of course, within the last decade the Patriots dropped pro-bowler Drew Bledsoe for an unproven sixth round draft pick. Three Super Bowls (two trophies later), none of the Pats fans are calling for Scott Pioli's head.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

For the fans

I used to watch the All-Star game.

I still remember back in the late 1980's when Dwight Evans made his last one. Late in a close game, Evans was in right with speedster Tim Raines on third. Evans charged hard on a sinking liner as Raines cheated up the line, waiting for his chance to break on the ball. The rock hit the ground about a step in front of Evans and Raines broke. Dewey played the ball cleanly and fired, as he did many a time from Fenway's eastern-most lawns, a heat seeking laser.

Raines stopped after two steps, and walked back to third, watching the throw.

He knew.

I remember actually being excited about the All-Star game. Watching people at or close to the top of their game. Sure, there was the occasional player who really didn't belong. But most of the time these were the guys.

Then, somewhere along the way the players stopped taking it seriously and baseball worried about their cash cow - a meaningless game intended to maximize viewership and minimize other real costs associated with the 162 game drag of a season. They wanted us to believe that it was about the fans, want us to still believe - that tickets to an event with no real impact and stars appearing for an inning or two at a time selling for hundreds of dollars is about us and not their bottom line. That a voting process that doesn't allow for the best shortstop this year to be starting, or a catcher batting under .220 is a good thing for the game.

It's not.

It's not a good thing for the game, and it's not about anything other than the corporation that is Major League Baseball finding another way to line their pockets.

I, for one, would be happy to see the MLB All-Star game go, as well as the NFL's Pro-Bowl. Just do the all-pro lists, keep the fan voting away from it and call it good. Just stop telling me that this annual ritual in money grubbing and the fans, as it is only the soft-minded fan that really believes this game is about him or her and not about lining the corporate pockets.

Before I sign off for the evening, I would like to note that I was going to touch on the Brett Favre cluster-fuck, but I think that no one out there has addressed this better than Paul Zimmerman at