I'm sure you read about Orioles' pitcher, Sidney Ponson, and his imprisonment in Aruba where he had been knighted several years earlier. To reset that
story, he was annoying beachgoers while he was on a water-ski and got into an argument with someone on the beach and punched him.
The "punchee" was a local judge and that landed Ponson in the hoosegow where Scott Ostler said his rank must have been reduced to knave. Now it seems
as if Ponson may be released under the due process of Aruban law, which interestingly does not include any provision for bail. The Orioles have had no
comment on this matter other than the obligatory statement that they are concerned for Ponson and wish him well and presume that all of this will be
resolved constructively. I really wonder if they were tempted to say something along the lines of:
"If the damn judge had only been standing on a home plate and in the strike zone, Ponson would never have been able to hit him."
Ponson's actions place him squarely in the zone where it is fair to ask, "What the hell were you thinking?" And juxtaposing that question with
Ponson's status as a major league pitcher, it is perfectly natural for you to think of John Rocker and you may wonder where he is these days. Rocker
is trying a comeback and is playing for a team in the Venezuelan Winter League. The stats I found say that he may have a way to go in order to make it
back to the major leagues because in his first 3 games, he pitched a total of 1 2/3 innings and gave up 3 walks and 2 hits while hitting 1 batter and
tossing 1 wild pitch.
My former colleague now residing in Pismo Beach is a Dodger fan and I'm sure he can find a rationalization for all of this but I can't bring myself to
understand what the Dodgers are doing in this off-season. Adrian Beltre will be overpaid in his new contract based on the totality of his career and
the Dodgers were probably correct in not getting into a bidding war for him. But they then turn around and pay JD Drew more money than they offered
Beltre by about $2M per year. Drew had never managed to be able to play a full season in his career until his "contract year" in Atlanta last season.
I wonder what miracle cure he found last year to achieve full availability and I really wonder if he will remember that miracle cure now that he has a
five year fat wallet deal in hand. I think the Over/Under for Drew's first muscle pull/hamstring twinge/hangnail is 12 May.
Johnny Damon got married in Orlando Florida over the holidays. There was a lot of syrupy nonsense written about the wedding but what struck me was a
statement from Heather Snively who was identified as the wedding planner who orchestrated the event. Snively said the service was "very ethereal and
serene, almost mystical. They [the happy couple] wanted it to be quiet, almost wintry."
Memo to Heather Snively:
1. What is it with you and the word "almost"? Did you try for "mystical" and "wintry" but miss the mark or did they want it to be "almost mystical"?
2. If you want "almost wintry" you might want to consider moving the venue to somewhere other than Orlando, FL. Or you might have suggested they put
it off until March 23 where it will just have turned spring and thus the ceremony - despite the venue - would by definition be "almost wintry".
Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune had a great prediction for 2005. He said that he can foresee Ron Artest's new CD sales going zinc. That is about
right because as of this morning that CD ranks as #49,513 on amazon.com in terms of popular music sales. Yet another example for Mark Cuban who thinks
that publicity is good for selling a product no matter what the publicity is...
While perusing the Chicago Tribune and Mike Downey's comment above, I ran across another story that has Ron Artest written all over it. The star
player for Hales Franciscan High School's basketball team was escorted from the gym and taken to a police station after he went into the stands and
confronted a fan who had allegedly been heckling the player. Both the fan and the player were charged with "breach of the peace". I hope this kid
never has to play a game in Cameron Indoor Stadium because he might not make it until the opening tap there.
Jim Jackson was traded to the New Orleans Hornets recently. That is not particularly newsworthy until you realize that Jim Jackson has to be
considered the Man of the Decade by the National Association of Realtors. Jackson has been in the NBA for a while; this is his 13th season. And the
Hornets are his 11th team.
I was checking out a Sixers game over the holidays and had a chance to get a close-up view of Kyle Korver for the first time. I can't decide if he
looks like the big goofy kid on That 70s Show or if he looks like the grown up version of the mop-headed kid on Home Improvement. He certainly looks
as if he is still working on his first disposable razor.
I notice that the NBA TV ratings are down yet again. ESPN weeknight games are down 9% from last year and TNT's ratings are down almost 20%. The causes
for this trend are so blatantly obvious that I can't imagine that no one has figured out that something needs to be changed:
1. There are too many games.
2. There are too many teams making too many of the "too many games" meaningless.
3. The marketing strategy, which is based on marketing the star players and not the teams, will only work if there are attractive star players. There
may be too many games and too many teams but there are not nearly enough attractive star players.
4. In tennis, that is known as Game. Set. Match.
Finally, here is another item from Mike Downey in the Chicago Tribune talking about a Babe Ruth bat that was auctioned off for $1.265M, which was
exactly the same price that a Honus Wagner baseball card had sold for previously:
"I am so angry. This is the second time I have been burned by making a bid of only $1.264M."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon