Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox won a game against the Oakland A's in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two run home run. They won the game before
that with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Both home runs were given up by A's closer, Octavio Dotel, giving him four blown saves already
this year. So, is it time to give him the nickname, Octavio "Heartbreak" Dotel?
In KC, Tony Pena resigned as the manager there. The Royals were 8-25 when Pena tossed in the jock and the team doesn't seem to arrive very often at
the point where they have save opportunities for their closer to blow. What seemed to be the trigger for his resignation was a base running blunder
that you rarely see beyond the Little League. Trailing 3-1 in the ninth inning, Royals' shortstop, Angel Berroa, led off with a double. That might
have ignited a rally, but in actuality, Berroa is not the important run that the Royals needed to drive home. When Mike Sweeney flied out to
centerfield, Berroa was doubled off second base as he "slowly retreated to the bag". The Royals may have lost the game even without that blockheaded
move, but it must have been the stupidity mixed with the lack of hustle that put Pena over the top. The Royals named Bob Scheaefer as their interim
manager - - but the Royals did not say what Scheaefer was being punished for.
Speaking of bad baseball teams, might I mention the Philadelphia Phillies? If I may review the bidding here, the Phillies were "disappointing" last
year and much of the blame was placed at the feet of Larry Bowa and his high stress managerial style. They say he "lost the team" and so they tossed
Bowa aside and brought in the far less tightly wound Charlie Manuel to steer the ship. There were no major changes to the roster except for the
departure of Kevin Millwood from the pitching staff. How's that working out? The Phillies stink and maybe it is time for the people who run the team
to realize that it isn't the manager or the manager's style that is "the problem". The team is SLOW; the team is OLD; the team is OVERPAID. With so
many dogs on the roster, they'd need to reincarnate St. Francis of Assisi to communicate with this bunch.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Vikings running back, Ontario Smith, was detained in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport last month when
police found "paraphernalia" in his baggage that was eventually determined to be a kit to circumvent drug tests. Honest folks, this product is called
"The Original Whizzinator". It is a prosthetic penis - that comes in an appropriate variety of colors and presumably sizes - attached to a plastic bag
and the moral equivalent of a jockstrap. Dried urine powder is part of the "kit"; and using a syringe, one can create clean urine and inject it into
the bag. When the user needs to produce a sample in the presence of an observer, the synthetic urine can be dispensed through the prosthetic penis by
the use of a control valve. And yes, ladies, there is a model for women too.
Smith has had two run-ins with the NFL substance abuse rules and one more failure could get him a one-year suspension. Of course, he said that the
device and the packets of dried urine powder and a vial of pills labeled "Cleansing Formula" were for his cousin. Hey, stop laughing; that could be
true; his cousin may be "using"; you never know...
Remember a week ago when Marquette University changed their nickname to "The Gold"? Remember the rhetorical gassing by the University President about
how wonderful that name was and how the Board of Trustees had captured the essence of what Marquette and Marquette athletics was all about? Well, file
all that under "Gum Flapping/Useless". Marquette has dropped the nickname, The Gold, after only one week based on a tsunami of complaints. This was a
disastrously bad idea in the first place but now the toothpaste is out of the tube and there isn't any good way to put it back so the school is now
about to embark on another path to find a new nickname. And don't think this one is going to be any stroll in the park.
There will be an Internet voting procedure to select the school's new nickname from a choice of 10 options but the original nickname "Warriors" will
not be on the ballot. Despite what you think of that nickname and its "political correctness baggage", its summary rejection from the ballot by the
University president will generate complaints and protests. And there is no way that any of the 10 choices will get a clear majority of the votes
unless 9 of the choices are specifically chosen to be so abjectly stupid that no one will vote for them. Maybe one choice will be "The Gold" and
another could be "The Fuscia" and a third could be "The Hemorrhoids". You get the idea. If I create that kind of ballot, I can get the votes to come
out however I wanted them to come out in the first place. On the other hand, if I'm the University president and I'm counting the votes... Oh yeah,
this procedure is gonna work out just fine.
As the clock wound down and the Washington Wizards won their first playoff series in about two decades, their fans in the MCI Center chanted, "We Want
Shaq". Well, they have gotten Shaq even though his play in the first two games has been significantly below the Shaq that NBA fans have come to
expect. Whatever injury he has to his leg, this is not a phantom injury whose real purpose is to get him some time off. Nevertheless, the Wizards'
fans got what they wished for and a limping Shaq produced a 19-point blowout win in the first game and a comfortable 6-point win in the second. Some
Wizards' players want the team to reinstate Kwame Brown if for no other reason as a way to have six more fouls to give against the Heat centers.
Management has declined to lift Brown's playoff suspension - as they should - realizing that they could sign me to give six fouls against the Heat
centers. There is no particular talent involved in being whistled for a foul in a basketball game.
Hmmm... I never thought of it that way. Since there is no particular talent involved here, maybe this is the perfect assignment for Kwame Brown...
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald summed up the situation here for his readers in Miami this way:
"Take it easy on the Wizards, though. Remember, they are playing without Kwame Brown, who was suspended by the team for stinking..."
Finally, a Kentucky Derby observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
"One more seventh place finish, you have to figure, and Bellamy Road might just become the glue that holds the Yankees' clubhouse together."
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon