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Newz Forum: OTHER: The Sports Curmudgeon on Tony LaRussa, Sammy Sosa, Jayson Williams plus more...

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posted on Feb, 20 2005 @ 11:46 AM
It seems to me that Tony LaRussa is walking a tightrope here and I'm not sure why he is doing it. Remember that in addition to being a baseball manager, LaRussa is an attorney and is therefore an officer of the court.

With the Canseco book out there, all he had to do was keep his mouth shut and say only that he was not in the habit of checking out what happened in the bathroom stalls so he has no idea if people were shooting each other up in there. But no, he felt compelled to say something "substantive" in defense of Mark McGwire. That led to him having to attack the credibility of Canseco and his claims about McGwire, but he can't really say that he "knew" Canseco was using steroids because that would be a federal felony that he knew about and failed to do anything about. That's not what officers of the court are supposed to do.

Memo to Tony LaRussa: Just shut up. You add nothing of value to this discussion.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, part of the deal that sent Sammy Sosa to the Orioles calls for the fine he received last year after skipping out of the last game early and then lying about it to be "waived". I thought that the Orioles might have learned something about setting boundaries and behavioral expectations for newly acquired players with reputations for anti-social behavior. After all, they did also deal with Albert Belle. I guess not...

Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News presented evidence that life favors left-handers in baseball. Wilfredo Rodriguez is a left-handed relief pitcher who is in spring training with the Texas Rangers. His moment in the sun until now was that he gave up Barry Bonds' 70th home run back in 2001. Last season he was in the Expos' minor league system at the A, AA and AAA level. He pitched a total of 42 innings in these three levels of minor league baseball and had a cumulative ERA of 10.29. But he is a left-hander so he gets another look...

According to Elliot Harris in the Chicago Sun-Times, Las Vegas oddsmakers have installed the money lines for teams to win the pennants in the NL and AL this year and to win the World Series. The Yankees are 3-1 favorites to win it all this year and the Red Sox are 4-1; that's not such a surprise. However, in the national league, the Cubs are the favorite to win the NL pennant at 11-5 and the Cubs are 5-1 to win the World Series. Who knew that dumping Sosa, Alou and Farnsworth would improve a team that much?

By the way, I hope I'm the first person to jump-start the infamous "New England angst" by pointing out that the Boston Red Sox have not won a pennant since 2004...

The suit brought by Rick Neuheisel against the University of Washington for wrongful discharge is in court. Neuheisel testified that he did lie to Federal agents when they questioned him originally about betting on the NCAA tournament but told the jury why he lied. Are you ready for this? He lied to them because they had lied to him by telling him they were questioning him about something else - a possible recruiting violation. If I'm on the jury, I know that would give me a solid basis to believe what he was saying on the witness stand. Later in that testimony, Neuheisel cried as he said how ashamed he felt when people compared him to Pete Rose after all of this came to light and he got canned. I don't want him to feel so ashamed and so I won't compare him to Pete Rose, but I will say that his middle name ought to be Pinocchio.

In another venue, Jayson Williams will be retried on charges related to the fatal shooting of the chauffeur in his house several years ago. The previous trial did not reach a conclusion - in rasslin' that is called a draw which sets up the next meeting between the feuding parties. Looks like we have the same thing here. The lawyers for Williams did offer a motion that I thought was ridiculous. They wanted to prevent the prosecution from referring to the man who was shot and who died as "the victim". I guess that technically he was not a "victim" because there is not yet a showing of any criminal behavior; but in fact, there is a "dead body". And on the assumption that the jurors have the cumulative IQ of a rutabaga, they will expect to hear about a "dead body" since the charges are manslaughter and/or murder. If I were the prosecution, I'm not sure I would oppose that motion as long as I was permitted to refer to the deceased as "the corpse", "the guy with a hole blown in his torso by a shotgun", "the previously breathing individual" and/or "the dead dude".

The Washington Post had an article recently about Fresno State's women's basketball coach, Stacy Johnson-Klein, who has been put on paid administrative leave by the Athletic Director while an investigation proceeds into alleged university rules violations and NCAA violations. Johnson-Klein claims that her administrative leave is based on complaints she made regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination that is ongoing within the Fresno State athletic department. Let me be explicit here; I have no idea what any of this is about and I have no desire to go and find out. But I must say that Johnson-Klein might do well to take some PR lessons because here is a comment from John Branch in his column in the Fresno Bee regarding Johnson-Klein:

"She's moodier than a lava lamp, more colorful than a book of paint samples. Her language can be bluer than her eye shadow, but she can't help but cry when things go bad."

I'm just guessing here, but I don't think that John Branch and Stacy Johnson-Klein will be sharing the head table at any charity roasts in the near future. As I said before, I have no idea what went on there or is going on there, but I got a very uneasy feeling about her charges when I learned that Jerry Tarkanian has stated his support for her in this matter. After all, one is known by the company one keeps...

Finally, the University of Mississippi has announced that they named Chris Rippon as the new defensive backs coach. Hereinafter, all interceptions by defensive backs at Ole Miss will be called Ripoffs...

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

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon

[Edited on 2/20/05 by SportzWriter]

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