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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on Jose Canseco, Brad Radke, Minnesota Vikings plus more...

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posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 11:33 AM
Last week I watched part of the Jason Giambi Mea Culpa Event. I doubt he'll get an Emmy for best actor in a contrived media non-event, but he may get a nomination.

As I watched and listened to that verbal legerdemain, I said to myself that we would all be better off if either Scott Ostler or Sally Jenkins took this opportunity to skewer Giambi and all his "peeps" for this traveshamockery. Saturday, I got my wish. Sally Jenkins summed up the essence of the stupidity of that entire apologia in a brilliant column. I commend it to your reading.

Tom Fitzgerald's syndicated column, Open Season, has a great headline in it last week taken from the "leaks" about Jose Canseco's forthcoming book:

"The Bash Brothers Were Needling Each Other"

The arrival of Jose Canseco on the 2005 literary scene has allowed lots of sportswriters and social commentators to emote. You've heard most of the positions staked out already. Let me give you a few short and simple observations about this whole matter. The reason to keep it short and simple now is that we don't yet have - and indeed may never have - sufficient data to know enough to be definitive about all this. Really, it would be a whole lot better if we knew what the hell actually happened in this matter before people went off on their emoting binges. So briefly:

1. Jose Canseco needs money as witnessed by his willingness to charge people $2,500 to spend an afternoon "hanging with him" while he was under house arrest.

2. Jose Canseco has a history of buffoonery and self-aggrandizement.

3. A self-aggrandizing buffoon may be telling the truth about a matter or he may be lying about it. Or, there may be some truth in there that he is exaggerating for some self-aggrandizing or buffoonish purpose.

4. Some baseball players took/are taking steroids to enhance their abilities.

5. Taking steroids is a form of cheating. If it were not cheating, why would the players hide what they are doing? Oh, I forgot; it's also illegal.

6. Do I believe every word of his accusations? No.

7. Do I believe that all of the people named by him are now innocent victims of his greed and malice? No.

With regard to MLB's Hall of Fame, there is a criterion there for nominees to meet that deals with integrity. For a decade, Pete Rose was kept out of the Hall of Fame without certainty as to his gambling on baseball; it was based on the decision of the deceased Commissioner, Bart Giamatti but in the face of denials from Pete Rose. It turns out that Rose was lying all those years, but we did not know that either. Now, it will be interesting to see how the HoF voters deal with the "Steroid Suspects". Remember, steroids are cheating and they are illegal; so how might that square with the "integrity provisions"? And the precedent is there that you need not have "smoking gun" proof; the standard is not "beyond a shadow of a doubt". In fact, Joe Jackson remains out of the Hall of Fame even though he was tried but not convicted of any criminal activity related to the Black Sox scandal in the 1920s.

Over the weekend - or maybe it was last Friday - I happened to hear Peter Gammons say that the Minnesota Twins' re-signing of Brad Radke to a 2-year contract for $18M was absolutely essential to the team in their efforts to stay atop the AL Central Division. I know that pitching is critically important in baseball and that there isn't nearly enough major league quality pitching to go around these days, but I just don't understand why the budget-constricted Twins think that Radke is worth about 12-15% of what they will expend on player salary this year and next. At best, he's the #2 starter on that team behind Johan Santana who the team is trying to sign for 4 years and $25M according to reports in the Minneapolis papers. I checked Radke's stats just to make sure that I was not missing something and came away with the same thought that he is a good pitcher but hardly the lynchpin around whom I'd build a team. Last year he had the best ERA of his career (3.50) but his career ERA is 4.23. Like I said, good but not someone whose re-signing I would call "absolutely essential".

Two years ago, the Patriots released Lawyer Milloy the week before the season began and the Bills signed him to the fat contract that the Pats would not give him. The Pats proceeded to win two Super Bowls without Milloy - who is a very good defensive back but obviously not irreplaceable in the Pats' defensive system. So, is Milloy happy with his big contract? He must be because he said last week that the Pats' "all for the team concept" is a crock and that the Pats' players have been sold that bill of goods as a justification for underpaying them. Said Milloy, at some point you have to get the money because you can't feed your family off Super Bowl rings.

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the city of Detroit had an exhibit booth in Jacksonville to tell folks about the joys of Detroit because next year's game will be played in Detroit. The Chairman of the Detroit Super Bowl Committee is Roger Penske. I don't know if he is a ceremonial chairman or the person actually running the operation here but that is beside the point. Penske was in Jax and invited various media members aboard his yacht that he had parked in the harbor area in Jax; obviously, part of the deal was to extol the virtues of Detroit as a Super Bowl venue. Somehow, I doubt he'll be doing much entertaining on that yacht next February in Lake St. Clair...

Supposedly, an announcement is imminent that the Vikings have been sold to Reggie Fowler - an Arizona businessman who leads an investment group - and the price tag is in excess of $600M. The other potential bidder for the team is Glenn Taylor who is a Minnesotan who also owns the Timberwolves. Current owner, Red McCombs, paid $250M for the Vikings in 1998 and even though the Vikings' lease on the Metrodome is reported to be one of the least lucrative deals in the league, McCombs has not been hemorrhaging cash all that time by any stretch of the imagination. So, don't shed any crocodile tears for him. Obviously, the NFL Finance Committee has to review the bid looking at the individuals in it and the resources available to the ownership of the team because the NFL has capitalization "rules" for ownership. If all appears to be in order, the Finance Committee would recommend the new owners to the league and then it would take a positive vote from 24 of the 32 owners to effect the sale.

Finally, TJ Simers was at the UCLA/Arizona basketball game and made this observation in his column in the LA Times:

"Freddie Mitchell, Cade McNown and Ed O'Bannon were at the game, and I had no idea it was First-Round Bust Day at UCLA."

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon


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