It must have happened while I was sleeping last night. The Federal budget is balanced; Social Security is on a sound footing for all of time; the tax
code is now fair and equitable to everyone - and it is simple to understand; we have provided for the common defense and secured the blessings of
liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
It has to have happened. Because now that the basic stuff is out of the way, the Congress of the United States has decided that it wants to hold some
hearings on steroids and baseball where they will "invite" people to come and testify under oath.
Let me be very clear. I think that athletes who used steroids are criminals who violated Federal Laws and should stand trial for doing that. I think
that having Congressional Committees posturing and orating on TV for the purpose of gathering information that will shape future legislation is merely
a contribution to the entropy death of the universe. Is Congress really going to legislate whether or not there should be asterisks in the baseball
record books? Send a letter or an e-mail to your elected representatives in Congress; remind them why the Founding Fathers and the People did "ordain
and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"; tell them to allow this idea for hearings to fall on the slagheap of Congressional
stupidity that continues to grow at an alarming rate.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were just sold by the Disney folks for just about what Disney paid for the franchise about 15 years ago. Somebody else
just purchased a 50% interest in the Vancouver Canucks. Obviously, these are people trying to buy in when the market is at a depressed level and
hoping to make money on the rebound. But those speculations pale in comparison with the bid by a couple of venture capital firms to buy all of the NHL
for $3.5B - yes, that is "three-point-five-Billion dollars". The idea would be to model the NHL after smaller entities such as MLS and/or the late and
lamented XFL where the teams compete with each other on the field but do not compete for players because all players and all franchises and all common
assets are the property of the league. This would certainly make the management position stronger in terms of union negotiation on things like salary
caps and benefits and rule changes and that model has not yet run afoul of antitrust scrutiny. However, there is something else to consider. The XFL
is defunct; MLS is moribund; there is no sports league model for this kind of structure where the league actually thrives and prospers. And that makes
this a $3.5B crapshoot.
Let me take another shot at the NHLPA here for a moment. Remember, these are the guys who have sworn for the last two years - and just renewed their
vow - not to accept a salary cap under any conditions that might obtain anywhere in the known universe. That's why a proposed $42.5M salary cap offer
was unacceptable. That's their choice; they made that choice; good for them. Now consider what Darrien Hatcher and Chris Chelios of the Detroit Red
Wings are doing with their spare time. They are playing hockey in the United Hockey League in Michigan for the Motor City Mechanics. The UHL has a
very different kind of salary cap; each team can spend $10K per week for the 20 players it suits up for a game, which according to my math comes out
to $500 per man. That's OK but a $42.5M salary cap per year is an abomination? Oh, and remember this example when the NHLPA starts to bleat about the
use of replacement players taking the jobs of their hardworking members. Just what are Chelios and Hatcher doing to the two people who are no longer
employed by the Motor City Mechanics?
John Canzano had a column in The Oregonian talking about the Mo Cheeks firing. He points out very correctly - and very lucidly - that the so-called
commitment made by the Blazers to be a community asset is now just talk because Cheeks is a classy guy and the players on the team are still
anti-social goofs - and not very good basketball players to boot. The players won by getting Cheeks fired. However, buried in Canzano's column is a
vignette that I find disturbing for reasons having nothing to do with the Blazers or Mo Cheeks.
Remember the young lady who was singing the National Anthem and she forgot the words and Cheeks went to her and helped her finish the song? Well,
according to that column, she was in a math class at school when her cell phone rang and it was her mother calling to tell her that Mo Cheeks had been
fired. Excuse me. What is a student doing taking cell phone calls in the middle of math class? What was that mother thinking interrupting a math class
to provide a piece of information that may be interesting to her daughter - but certainly not time critical - but is of passing interest at best to
everyone else in the class? In case you haven't figured this out by now, I hate cell phones and this is reason number 6,237.
Yesterday, I talked about Mike Tyson's appearance at the San Remo Music Festival. Despite all the worry and protest, he managed to get there and
attend the event without causing international or local mayhem. Whatever. His next money-earning gig is supposed to be a trip to Australia to help an
Australian boxer train. Yes, Mike Tyson will be a trainer/sparring partner for some Australian fighter named Jeff Fenech; if you can pick him out of a
lineup with six emperor penguins and a kangaroo, you have spent far too much time concentrating on boxing! Here is the glitch. Australia is not
inclined to give Tyson a visa because of his criminal record and the Acting Immigration Minister, Peter McGauran, told a radio program in Australia
"...in the past, people seeking to come to Australia with serious criminal convictions have been denied entry on character grounds." Talk about a guy
who has lost touch with a country's roots. Australia was settled as a British Crown Territory as a penal colony. There was a time when you did not get
to enter Australia unless you had a serious criminal conviction. Talk about living in a state of denial...
Finally an item from Peter Schmuck in the Baltimore Sun:
"Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams is scheduled to attend Saturday's exhibition game between the Nationals and Orioles at ramshackle Fort
Lauderdale Stadium, which makes you wonder why he would make his first appearance at the home of his hometown team's new geographical rival.
"I mean why would anyone choose to watch the Nationals play in a rundown, 40-year old stadium?
"Sorry, sore subject."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon