The story about Barry Bonds thinking about retirement and his assertion that it has been the media that has driven him to the cusp of this decision is
less than one-day old as I type this.
It has already become tedious. I don't care one way or the other if he retires or comes back to play. I do wonder about those fans in NY and Chicago
who paid premium prices to see the Giants come to town this year and how they are going to feel having paid those premium prices to see Mike Matheny
and Marquis Grissom light it up.
San Diego Padres' closer, Trevor Hoffman, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he doesn't "want to compete against anyone using drugs." I guess he
and Barry Bonds can retire together starting tomorrow...
Tickets for the season opening Red Sox/Yankees game in NYC have appeared for sale on the "secondary market". Ticket brokers are asking $120 per seat
for "upper deck left field line" seats and $2,700 per seat for field boxes. That's an awful lot of money to see the first of 162 regular season
baseball games no matter who is playing - and that statement includes the line-up that materialized in Field of Dreams. A week after opening in NYC,
the Red Sox have a home opener in Fenway against the Yankees. The same ticket broker offers "standing room" for $675; I guess it would be silly to
refer to "standing room tickets" on a "per seat basis", no?
Compare those stratospheric ticket prices with a report from a website devoted to sports cards and collectibles which reports that the steroid
"problem" has had a negative effect on card prices. Andy Madec runs a company that buys and sells sports cards; he is an expert in that field and is
one of those guys you hear on sports radio shows talking about these kinds of things. He says that since the steroid "scandal" broke, Barry Bonds'
rookie card has dropped about 67% in value to a current price of $700 and Jose Canseco's rookie card has dropped 90% to a current value of $20.
Quick Quiz: You have $1,400 burning a hole in your pocket. Would you rather:
a. See the Red Sox/Yankees opener in Fenway with a friend in a standing room area?
b. Buy two Barry Bonds' rookie cards as an "investment"?
c. Take your spouse/significant other/whatever for a weekend in Las Vegas?
Last week, reporters, columnists and Congressthings ranted on and on about how the punishment regime in baseball's new "get tough rules" regarding
steroids was way too lenient. Remembering that steroid usage is a Federal crime, one might send a note to your Congressthing asking him/her why they
haven't called the Justice Department up there to testify about why the DoJ has not prosecuted all these desperados. I doubt you'd get an answer to
that one. However, baseball's new punishment regime merely continues its long-standing tradition of lax punishments. As soon as I say the name Steve
Howe, your mind begins to sort through the data banks to try to recall if he was suspended seven times or was it ten times for drug abuse and alcohol
abuse and whatever. Well, get ready to hear about Steve Howe in another context. Steve Howe is making the rounds of MLB clubs as a sales rep for an
"energy drink" made by a German company. I am not implying in any way that there might be anything at all improper about that activity nor am I
suggesting that the "energy drink" is anything other than Red Bull in a different can, but can't you wait to hear MLB's crack PR Department's
explanation of this situation?
MLB says that ticket sales are up this year over the same time last year. However, one place where ticket sales are down significantly ought to be a
cautionary note for owners and politicians thinking about building new stadia. The Phillies had a banner year last year in their brand spanking new
playpen; this year season ticket sales dropped from 23,000 to 16,000 (that's almost a 35% drop!). Politicians in places like Washington and Minnesota
are being pressured to build new stadia; they need to look at the situation in Philly and Pittsburgh and Milwaukee where new buildings generated big
attendance figures for one year and then dropped like a lead pigeon after that. I'm sure that MLB's crack PR Department will have something cogent to
say about that too.
In spring training news that has slipped under the radar, Juan Gonzalez has strained a hamstring and missed more than a couple of spring training
games. Clearly, this man is ready for the season to start...
Yesterday, I commented on Notre Dame's early exit from the NIT at the hands of Holy Cross and wondered why the "screaming experts" did not tell us
with the same conviction they had on "Selection Sunday" that they were wrong about Notre Dame belonging in the NCAA tournament. I neglected to mention
that the game was played in South Bend and that the loyal and rabid Notre Dame fan-base there turned out all of 2,517 people to see that game. You'll
wait a long long time to hear that from either Dick Vitale or Digger Phelps.
Here's a rhetorical question: Is Billy Donovan an honors student at the "Bob Huggins School of Leaving the NCAA Tournament on the First Weekend"?
I often knock schools that schedule cupcakes outside their conferences. So in the interest of fairness, let me commend the University of Kansas for
their out of conference basketball schedule this year. They had eleven out of conference games this year. Eight of those "outside games" were against
teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament and the other three teams all went to the NIT. Kudos to the University of Kansas!
Finally, a comment from Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:
"This just in. An ancient scroll has been discovered in which Hermes Canseco accused Hercules of taking steroids."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon