Sunday, February 08, 2009

A-Rod's steroid report brings all MLB into question

With the recent report that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, baseball and sports fans across the nation must wake up and accept the fact that baseball is dirty, and it's not going to be clean any time soon.

Just think back to August 7, 2007. Barry Bonds smashed a 3-2 pitch from Washington's Mike Bacsik. As Bonds' career home run #756 cleared the right-center field wall, a dark and ominous cloud seemed to crawl out over the evening sky. No longer could fans deny the permanent scar steroids would leave on the game of baseball. The one silver lining to the steroid cloud was that hopefully, someday, Alex Rodriguez will continue his pace to break Bonds' career home run record, once again restoring some semblance of honor to the most hallowed record in sports.

Apparently not.

Sports Illustrated's report that A-Rod tested positive for steroids has erased any hope of a silver lining. Instead, baseball's steroid cloud has cast an imposing shadow over the game like one of the alien ships from Independence Day. The problem can no longer be brushed aside. And if it's not dealt with, game over.

Not sure how baseball can clean up this mess. The problem seems too widespread to simply "solve" over the course of a season or two. And what's worse, is the fans don't seem to care that some of these all-star caliber players are doing it dirty. Oh, sure, the ones who don't admit to it and disgracefully fade into infamy (Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire) will be vilified at least until they admit some guilt. But what about Jason Giambi or Andy Pettitte?

Alex Rodriguez's worst baseball sin - other than his post-season play - was really only signing a monster contract with the Texas Rangers for a quarter-billion dollars before moving to the hated New York Yankees a few seasons later. But now, the man formerly known as Pay-Rod has become A-Fraud. And what a fraud he's had going. His 2003 MVP season is tarnished, and based on history, his only chance at redemption in the court of public option would most likely be to apologize without being specific and hope people move on. The only problem with that logic is that if Rodriguez truly does end up challenging Barry Bonds' career home run record, these steroid reports will cloud people's judgment of the accomplishment. Guys like Pettitte or Giambi have still played well after battling steroid reports, but neither of them challenged any of those mega-records in sports.

Rodriguez might.

And so A-Roid must now decide how he will address these allegations. Ignore them, and they will only intensify. Accept them, and have a chance at salvation. Fight them, and face a conviction in the court of public opinion. There is no easy way out.

The same can be said for Bug Selig and Major League Baseball. With the man who was recently heralded as the salvation compared to Bonds' disgrace of the record books, now no one is above scrutiny. And no one is above speculation of guilt. Unles the MLB were to have openly public testing results - something that would never be allowed because of the privacy of medical records, not to mention an incredibly strong players union - the validity of all baseball players must come into question.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

NBC Super Bowl Coverage Notes

The Helmet Catch

NBC aired a 5 minute package about last season's Super Bowl game-changing play when Eli Manning escaped a sure sack and completed a miracle pass to receiver David Tyree, who clutched the ball against his helmet as he was flung to the ground. The completion on 3rd down allowed the Giants the chance to win the game and defeat the 18-0 AFC Champion Patriots.

But the most disturbing part of the entire story... NBC continually referring to this play as a play that has "become known as 'The Catch.'" Since when?! "The Catch" occurred when the 49ers' Dwight Clark caught a ball in the back of the end zone from Joe Montana to send San Francisco to its first Super Bowl. Tyree made a great catch, but it wasn't The catch.

President Obama

During his pre-game interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, President Barack Obama commented about the cover of "Us" weekly on how he was cropped out of a photo of his family. Instead the magazine cover featured a sidebar of Jessica Simpson with the words "Weight Battle" in large bold pink block lettering. When Lauer said, "you were replaced by Jessica Simpson," Obama chuckled and responded with, "yes, who's apparently in a weight battle." Give it 48 hours before Romo breaks up with her.

Stubborn Super Bowl viewing

It's finally here. Super Bowl XLIII.

After two weeks of waiting, the Arizona Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. So how will this break down...

The Cardinals offense against the Steelers defense serves as the main appetizer. Kurt Warner's story is of course remarkable. The link of Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt to Pittsburgh as a former Bill Cowher assistant adds in a few wrinkles. Will this be Edgerine James' opportunity to get the ring the Colts won without him two years ago? A win most likely solidifies Warner's Hall of Fame chances. A win makes Ben Roethlisberger on his way to becoming Tom Brady 2.0. Etc, etc.

So much fun to look forward to.

Now there are a few things I don't like about the Super Bowl. I don't like how everyone watches it. I like football. I like more people watching football. But I don't like people watching football who not only don't know anything about football, but don't try to know anything about it either. And what's worse is those same morons try to pretend to actually know what they're talking about while the game is in progress.

Comments like "I'm rooting for the Steelers because they have a better name than the Cardinals" should not be tolerated. That's okay logic for a girl picking teams in a March Madness pool, but not for the Super Bowl! And yet, it's all too routine. Or the people who come to Super Bowl parties and talk during the game. No, I know I'm a talkative person. But if I'm talking during the Super Bowl, it's with at least some purpose. Two years ago when Devin Hester took the opening kick off back for a TD in Super Bowl XLI, I pointed out to all my friends that this was the first KR TD to open a Super Bowl. Three minutes later, Fox put that stat across the screen. But I don't want to hear about how your boss is being a jerk while the teams are on the field.

The commercials are funny. I like to watch the commercials. I laugh at them. But the commercials are NOT the only reason to gather around the TV. If you're just watching so you can talk about the commercials at the water cool, and you don't actually have any interest, I'd rather you watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet and be proud of it. Heck, the Puppy Bowl is really entertaining. It's cute. It's cuddly. It's awww. But enough already. The focus should be on the game. Not which dancing animals are plugging Pepsi this year. Good lord.

So as you kick back and enjoy what should really be a national holiday, make sure you keep your Super Bowl viewing party in line. Bathroom breaks at halftime only, not during the game so you "don't miss any commercials." No asking when Kurt Warner broke up with Ivan Drago (it's the same woman). Don't try to spell Roethlisberger -- you won't succeed. And for God sake, learn your Roman Numerals, because writing "Super Bowl 43" is absolutely not acceptable.

No Joshin prediction: Cardinals 27, Steelers 22

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