Am I surprised to learn that Barry Bonds took steroids - either knowingly or unknowingly? Of course not. Look at pictures of Bonds in the mid-90s and
then at a picture of him now in 2004.
Yes, his physique is significantly enhanced; but remember that there are lots of body builders with even larger and more pronounced muscle development
who do it completely without steroids. A lot of exercise over a long period of time will build a lot of muscle mass; there is nothing surprising about
that. Here is what makes me believe Bonds took steroids. It's his head.
I've read that one side effect of steroid use on some people is that their head grows significantly in size. It sure looks to me as if Bonds head in
2004 is bigger than it was ten years ago - perhaps double in volume. (For the non- geometricians out there, doubling the volume of a sphere requires
the radius of the skull to be increased by only 25%.) So, can anyone explain to me what muscle workout will enhance the muscles of the face and scalp
such that they will work to expand the cranial cavity? Think about that for a minute; if these muscles were actually developed, their contraction
would constrict the cranium and not pull it out to a larger size. Oh and there is that tiny matter of how many bicep curls and ab-crunches it will
take to develop the facial and scalp muscles...
Does anyone recall about two weeks ago when the sporting world and the sports media was shocked - shocked I say - at the Terrell Owens/Nicolette
Whomever intro to MNF? Since then we've had all kinds of other stuff happen that makes you wonder how slow a news period it had to be for people to
get worked up over that.
I do not want to hear any bleating about how Cal got jobbed and how Texas should never be allowed in the Rose Bowl. Obviously, the computers like
Texas better than Cal because Cal ranked ahead of Texas in both the writers' poll and the coaches' poll. So the only way to resolve this is to get rid
of the computers entirely. And that will leave you with the human polls, which are hardly infallible. Here is what Norman Chad had to say about that
"Sportswriters have difficulty matching neckties to shirts and you want them deciding the national champion? Actually sportswriters are regular people
- except the bet on the games they cover, consider press-box food a professional perk and expense cab rides to massage parlors."
I say simply that most of the writers who would vote in the AP Poll have never seen some of the teams that they will need to vote for except maybe on
a highlight tape from SportsCenter. That makes their vote "uninformed" and makes their opinion no more valid than that of a computer, which has also
not seen the teams play.
Actually, as I look at the Bowl Game line-up, I like the two late games on New Year's Eve better than any of the games on New Year's Day. On 31
December, you have Boise State/Louisville in the late afternoon and that game might have the losing team in the 40s. Then you have Miami/Florida in
the late game and that is a rivalry game in the Peach Bowl. Not one of the New Year's Day games is compelling by any measure. All four early games are
meaningless and present no indication of an exciting match up. Wisconsin/Georgia should be brutally boring; Iowa/LSU will be a game to bet the UNDER;
FSU/West Virginia might rise to the level of "insignificant"; Tennessee/Texas A&M cannot possibly rise to the level of "insignificant". The most
interesting New Year's Day game will be Utah/Pitt and the reason that will be the most interesting game is that most football fans have never seen an
offense like Utah's. Watch this game even if it does not matter at all who wins or loses. You will see some things in that game you have not seen
Whatever infects the members of the Arizona Cardinals' organization that manifests itself as on-field incompetence must be contagious and Dennis Green
must have caught it. How else would you explain his handling of the QB situation there? He handed the job to Josh McCown last spring and proclaimed
that he was "the man". After going 4-5 at the start of the season - which put the Cards in the thick of playoff contention - he pulled McCown to start
Shaun King. Remember, Shaun King has already shown a lack of proficiency as a starting QB in the NFL; and in two games against the Panthers and the
Jets, he showed that he is still a liability as a starting QB. In two games, King threw 4 INTs, which is how many McCown had thrown in 9 games and
provided no other benefit from the position. Then last week, Green decided to bench King (good move) and start John Navarre at QB (say what!?).
Navarre had never thrown a pass in an NFL game and was a better than average college QB at best. So, what does Navarre do against the less than
fearsome Lions' defense? He tosses 4 INTs to equal the total of McCown in 9 games and King in 2 games.
Next week, McCown is scheduled to start again but now the Cards are 4-8 and will need to win out against SF, Saint Louis, Seattle and Tampa to have a
shot at the playoffs. They might actually do that since none of these opponents falls in the category of "juggernaut" but imagine how nice it might
have been to have another win - or even two - in the bank at this point.
Do not sleep on the Buffalo Bills in the AFC. The Bills are 6-6 at the moment and they have a very real shot at finishing 10-6 - meaning they might be
in a tie-breaker situation for the playoffs. The Bills finish with Cleveland, Cincy, SF and then a home game against Pittsburgh. The Steelers will be
playoff bound long before that and if the home-field situation happens to be cleared up then, they may be on cruise control. The Bills offense has
come alive and their defense has been adequate – even if it did give the Dolphins more than 30 points last weekend. Keep your eyes on the Bills.
After Cleveland showed nothing against the Pats Sunday in terms of enthusiasm or fire, you can forget any resurgence under Terry Robiskie. It did not
happen when he was interim-coach in Washington; it ain't happening here either. So look ahead on the schedule to Sunday night December 26 when the
national game will be Cleveland at Miami. What a dog that game will be. If ever there was a justification for "schedule flexibility" for featured NFL
games, this one in the next to last week of the season this has to be it.
Don't sleep on the Panthers in the NFC. I know they are 5-7, but they have an easy schedule ahead of them and could make it to 9-7, which is a
sure-fire ticket to the playoffs in the NFC. Remaining for Carolina are games with St. Louis, Tampa, Atlanta and New Orleans. All of those teams can
be beaten. I think that Carolina will be 8-8 at a minimum and will be in the playoffs.
Finally, a note from syndicated columnist, Tom FitzGerald:
"Bob Curtis is stepping down after 48 seasons as the radio voice of Idaho football. 'He has been Idaho's sportscaster of the year 32 times,' says John
Blanchette of the Spokane Review-Journal, ' which would be impressive if Idaho had more than one sportscaster."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon